Downer Movie and Dietary Rethinking

Hey, Zinema. Leviathan was a total downer.

Paolo Freire and other critical theorists argue that it’s impossible to encourage people to enter “critical consciousness” if their labors are such that they must always focus on the work… it’s impossible not to see these fishermen within this frame.  Their labors are routinized, mechanical — they shuck scallops like silent organic machines.  There is nothing social about their labors, nor anything that creates space for reflection.  As a result, they behead fish, use machetes to slice rays in three, and watch cable TV in cold, mechanical ways.

The shooting of the film on GoPro cameras felt a little Blair Witch to me.   We will probably see 2-4 of these kinds of movies before the audio (which was bad, in my opinion) wears thin and the intense closeups become cliche.  But on the other hand, it is these very closeups that echo the point, I think — we are so caught in the immediacy of the labors and the immediacy of the cruelty, it is easy to forget the systemic problems (including industrial food) that make these conditions possible.

What can local restauranteurs or foodies tell me to help with this movie?  Why were the rays cut in three?  Why isn’t it prohibited to kill so many collateral fish — the blood, guts and corpses seem never to stop washing off the deck?  My colleagues tell me not to eat farmed fish — they are fed “nasty” stuff.  But OMG, if my tuna salad makes this industry possible, I can’t stomach that, either.  Where do local restaurants source their fish, and what do I need to know?


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