What’s for Dinner? explores fast-globalizing China through the eyes of a retired pig farmer in rural Jiangxi province; a vegan restaurateur in Beijing.
This documentary follows the rapid rise of animal product consumption in China, where the consumption of pork the country’s most popular meat has doubled over the past ten years. Since China recently opened its doors to foreign agribusiness, both Western and home-grown fast-food chains are now commonplace in urban areas and contribute to a $28 billion-a-year business in the country.
None of this would be possible without the rapid adoption of a U.S.-style system of intensive production. But strains are showing: manure and another run-off from so-called “factory farms that can house thousands of pigs, chickens, or ducks are fouling groundwater and rivers. Only two generations after a national famine killed millions, nearly a quarter of Chinese adults are overweight or obese, as are as many as one in five children. Diet-related chronic diseases now kill more people in China than any other cause.
What’s for Dinner? sheds new light on the climate, public health, food security, workers’ rights, and ethical concerns of China taking this path.
About the Filmmakers
What’s for Dinner? is directed by award-winning filmmaker Jian Yi who led an all-Chinese crew that included assistant director Eva Song, producer Douglas Xiao, and cinematographer Pan Kewu. Jian Yi is an independent filmmaker and cultural activist who is interested in religion, education, environmental conservation, globalization, and unofficial history.
“But despite its sobering topic, this is not a shocking film – we see a slaughterhouse, but not the actual slaughter. And director Jian Yi is careful to include the voices and stories of people working for a different type of dinner menu. After the pigs’ short trip from trough to the plate, we meet environmental activists and the Buddhist proprietor of a vegan restaurant. An artist explains how easy it is to be a vegetarian in a country with such a vast variety of inexpensive fresh vegetables. (“Eating meat is more a desire of the mind than a desire of the body.”)” – Grace Communications. What’s For Dinner: A Documentary Film Review. 30 Sept 2014
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