Eating Animals, a new documentary narrated and produced by Academy Award winner Natalie Portman, made its world premiere this weekend at the Telluride Film Festival.
The film, based on a book of the same name by Jonathan Safran Foer, aims to educate viewers about the horrors of animal agriculture by going undercover at factory farms and slaughterhouses and exposing the truth. In 2009 Natalie Portman reported ditching meat, dairy, and eggs after reading Foer’s book.
The film received a standing ovation at its first ever screening at the festival, by what must’ve been a very moved audience.
“It was a real eye-opener to actually see what farming was, which was people wanting to run from you, not wanting you to see the system that was in place, including these vertically integrated structures. They know deep in their core it is not right, but I actually think there is a lot of hope in that, the fact that they still know a guy with a camera shouldn’t be coming around here because it is wrong.”
After contacting the book’s author Natalie co-produced the film with director, Chris, who has worked on other powerful documentaries such as God Grew Tired Of Us and 21 Up America.
The documentary uses graphic footage from inside food processing factories to expose not just the extensive animal cruelty, but the chemicals in the food produced and the alleged corporate environmental degradation. As the film points out, collecting this kind of footage is illegal and could result in a prison sentence for the individuals involved. But what about the truth of how our food is made and what really goes into it? That’s what the film explores. Director Chris told Deadline at the festival:
“It was a risk, and it’s weird to be called a ‘terrorist.’ It was a real eye-opener to actually see what farming was, which was people wanting to run from you, not wanting you to see they system that was in place, including these vertically integrated structures. They know deep in their core it is not right, but I actually think there is a lot of hope in that, the fact that they still know a guy with a camera shouldn’t be coming around here because it is wrong.”
The film explores factory farming in a way that the book never could. As the author commented,
“I was kind of actually really thrilled about all the ways it departed from the book. It covered a lot of things I wish I had known about when I wrote it. Also a moving image can capture somebody’s heart in a way that is different, not better or worse, than the way that a book can. Just to be able to linger on a farmer’s face, and certainly the images inside farms, is incredibly persuasive but can also be challenging.”
The book is still well worth a read and the film, as harrowing as it is, is a must watch for anyone – particularly meat eaters. It’s about time we woke up to what’s really happening in the animal agriculture industry and this film gives a very graphic close up for us all to see.
Dea is passionate about pursuing gentle, pure living in all its forms. She’s a veg and fruit foodie, who loves to explore the healing properties of plant-based foods and then fully indulge in their sun-filled taste. She believes that “In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.”