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Our Daily Bread 

Wednesday, Feb 21 2007
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{mosimage} This documentary about mass food production by Austrian documentarian Nikolaus Geyrhalter (Elsewhere) opens with an endless row of trussed pig carcasses, neatly hanging by their hind legs. What ensues is a cool, nearly wordless succession of scenes from the European food industry. When not hitching a ride on a tractor or crane, Geyrhalter’s camera is static, contemplating an infinite expanse of chicken coops, a hangar-size greenhouse of hydroponic cucumbers, or the vast vista of a crop-dusted field. Machines rule, whether milking cows or gathering olives, and the film gives the sense of an empty, highly regulated planet populated by a relatively few number of workers. Geyrhalter provokes all manner of philosophical questions, such as: At what point during the industrial procedure do the animals actually die? And, though the film’s title obviously refers to work as much as food, does it also ask forgiveness for our sins? (American Cinematheque at the Aero Theatre; Sat., Feb. 24, 5 p.m.; Wed., Feb. 28, 7:30 p.m.; every Sun., 5 p.m., thru March 25. www.americancinematheque.com.)

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Reach the writer at jhoberman@villagevoice.com

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