Film: Extraordinary short film brings mass consumption home super powerfully

Posted by Emily Beber,

It’s called CAFO or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation, the process by which animals born for mass consumption are placed in confined space and fed copiously to fatten, to become a tasty morsel for human mouths.

Are we shocked? Not particularly. It is a well-known industry designed to manage the “too many humans to feed and not enough fields to grow (animals or plants)” state of our current existence. And yet the six-minute snippet Le Surconsommation taken from Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson’s 2011 documentary Samsara which was re-released on to the internet this week struck a horrifying chord upon watching. Is it the cruelty to animals as described above that is so distressing, or the mile long meat preparatory houses manned by overall-clad workers who have to kill, cut and gut all day? We’re not sure which is worse.

The entire film took over four years to produce, moving across 25 different countries, five continents to document a contemporary approach to its title Samsara (the repeating cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth). But these six minutes carry with them a potency, a gut wrenching sense of responsibility that even a life spent as a vegetarian won’t cure.

  • D4

    Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson: Le Surconsommation film clip from Samsara

  • D6

    Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson: Le Surconsommation film clip from Samsara

  • D5

    Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson: Le Surconsommation film clip from Samsara

  • D8

    Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson: Le Surconsommation film clip from Samsara

Portrait18

Posted by Emily Beber

Emily worked with us as an editorial intern during her summer break from the Royal College of Art and wrote for the site between August and September 2013.