Documentary


Food Rules by Michael PollanBestselling author Michael Pollan’s latest book, Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, is a quick read, but is not light on information for anyone that eats.  There are a lot of long and exhaustive books that don’t get to the point, especially when it comes to diet and health.  Pollan however gets right to practical advice and scientific information with this slim book of ideas that span the space of a small page.

He makes interesting points, 64 in fact.  I tend to enjoy reading about health, and honestly, I find that a lot of these kinds of books are not quick and easy, or the advice is simply not good.  Not since I read You on a Diet have I felt so satisfied with a health advice book.

A lot of this was not new to me, but I tend to try to stay up on health news.  Even still, I found a lot to take away myself.  Pollan is an expert on food and the food industry, and informs us without a gimmick of weight loss.  Yes, you will lose weight if you follow his advice, but it is about being informed.  Like his other books and talks, he also discusses what has happened with the food industry and American society to cause our issues with food.

One thing that I loved about this book is that it didn’t focus heavily on meat vs. vegetarianism, but it did comment on it.  It is difficult when a book does not take into account the different perspectives of the potential readers.  It is a wonderful way to dip your toes into understanding food, but even people already knowledgeable will enjoy Pollan’s quick tips.  This book is really a great little read for anyone interested in being more mindful and healthy about what they eat with realistic solutions.

On Wednesday, April 21, the highly talked about Academy Award Nominated documentary film Food Inc. will be shown on POV.  Robert Kenner’s film features Pollan and other experts on food.  They explore the fascinating topic of how our food is making us sick, and what we can do to make it better.  Check your local PBS station listings.  You can even get a one time e-mail reminder from PBS so you don’t forget.

The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

Because of this, PBS is featuring an excerpt from Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma.  Unlike Food Rules, The Omnivore’s Dilemma is not quick tips, but rather a discussion of how our food industry is run and how we got to this point.  This is not to say it won’t help you make smarter decisions.  Rather, Food Rules is the distilled advice of Pollan, but is hardly exhaustive of his knowledge.

Additional information:

Official website: Michael Pollan

Interview: Michael Pollan on Democracy Now! (VIDEO) — highly recommended

Excerpt (PBS): The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan

Excerpt (WorldCat/GoogleBooks): The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan

Additional websites:  Food, Inc. trailer on POV and Food, Inc. reminder

Official website: Food, Inc. documentary film

Find these items at a library near you! Don’t forget, this website’s official list of library items can also be found here or in our side bar by clicking on the WorldCat logo.

Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual by Michael Pollan

The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan — There is also a GoogleBooks preview, which you can find on WorldCat by clicking under the image of the book cover.  Or, you can click here to be taken there directly.

Food Inc.

Food, Inc.

Food, Inc. documentary film

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Zombie Girl: The Movie poster

Zombie Girl: The Movie poster

Emily Hagins is a twelve-year old girl (thirteen by the end of the film).  Emily Hagins is also making a feature length zombie movie.  Zombie Girl: The Movie (2009) (available free to stream from SnagFilms until Thursday, August 20, 2009) is a documentary about the making of that movie that was shown at Comic-Con this year.  Emily reminds me a lot of myself and how I would have been if I had the opportunity to make a movie earlier in my life.

Videographer Emily Hagins

Videographer Emily Hagins

In an industry that still is male-centric behind the lens, Emily makes me proud as a feminist and a videographer.  Here is this little girl that starts out with a dream and she makes it happen.  She is having the opportunity to make her own zombie movie and she makes mistakes, but she also works hard and doesn’t give up.  I am passionate about videography and the power it has as a medium for the people.  This is exactly the kind of movie that I think anyone, kid or adult, that wants to make a movie would benefit from watching, but specifically anyone that wants to build a collection for a media literacy program centered around videography.

Emily shows her mom footage

Emily shows her mom footage

The documentary is about much more than a zombie movie (Pathogen, 2006).  It is about that passion we all hope to have.  It is about a girl with a vision and parents that support her every step of the way, but it isn’t all sunshine and roses.  As with any movie, especially a super-low budget indie, there are problems — including long nights, an overworked mom, re-shoots, and lame-o people that actually turn down the chance to be in a zombie movie.  The documentary is also framed by interviews with not only the people involved in the video, but also people that can put into context the significance of the availability of videography to the masses.

Emily Hagins frustrated with editing "Pathogen"

Emily Hagins frustrated with editing "Pathogen"

The great thing about this film, in terms of adding it to your collection to promote media literacy, is that it does go through the good and the bad. Making a movie sounds fun, and it is, but it also is a lot of hard work (especially for the independent videographer that also has other responsibilities and limitations). The beginning of the film is about how Emily got started and what she has done. As the movie progresses we see the successes and fun as well as the very real stresses for anyone setting out to make a movie.

And as I know, you are all dying to see what Emily came up with.  Here is the trailer to Pathogen, which is available from www.cheesynuggets.com/pathogen.html for purchase for $8.00 plus shipping and handling.  I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get my copy!

One of the stars of "Pathogen"

One of the stars of "Pathogen"

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