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Food movies about soy beans, pigs and pets

Autumn is the perfect season to indulge in movies – especially when it’s pouring down outside and the days get shorter. A few foodrelated movies caught my particular attention this autumn, here’s a short overview with pigs and pets as the common denominator.

Soyalism (2018)
by Enrico Parenti, Stefano Liberti – Italy – 65 min
Seen at AFFR in Rotterdam

This year’s theme of the Architecture film festival Rotterdam, “Lost in transition”, explores the need for a change in our way of thinking and living to guarantee a new world that is fairer and more sustainable. This shocking documentary makes you think twice about how optimistic we can be about realising this transition. Soyalism takes the audience on a trip around the globe along the entire chain of pork production. The investigative documentary shows us all the steps, from vast soybean plantations in the Brazilian rainforest to hypermodern slaughterhouses in China, where a spokesperson proudly reports that they can slaughter 600 pigs an hour. The filmmakers strikingly portray the disastrous ecological and social consequences of the globalised food chain. 

At the Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam, the movie was introduced architectural historian Marieke Berkers. With a quote of Jonathan Safran Foer, she reminded the audience to SFYN’s credo #votewithyourfork: “Every time you make a decision about food (…) you are farming by proxy.”

Okja (2017)
by Bong Joon Ho – Korea – 120 min
Seen at home on the couch via Netflix

From the soya eating pigs in Soyalism, we move on to superpig Okja, a genetically modified creature, designed to feed the world. What starts as an adventurous action movie about a girl trying to rescue her best pet friend, turns into a violent tale of global capitalism, animal rights activism and the destructive meat industry. Okja is funny and serious, Okja is cute and cruel.


Tungrus (2018)
by Rishi Chandna – India – 13 min
Seen at AFFR in Rotterdam – watch it for free here

The next movie is also about a pet, a chicken this time, living with a family in Mumbai. We see the chicken hopping around from couch to table, from living room to kitchen, terrorising and/or charming the humans in the apartment along the way. The absurd images of the chicken in the clean middle class flat, an inconvenience but also a member of the household. A short movie building up to the moral question: Can you eat your pet?!


Text by Kato Allaert (SFYN Rotterdam)


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