The Foood Show

As I have mentioned before, I co-organize an experimental film series in Providence, RI. Tonight we are presenting The Foood Show, a program of short films about food. In thinking about different food systems in Rhode Island and with increased baking, cooking, sharing, and eating that happens during the holiday season, I tried to organize a program that offers many views of our relationships with food. If you live in the area and are looking for something to do tonight at 9:30pm, come join me at the Cable Car Cinema and Cafe. And yes, they serve food there (on real, reusable dishes, with silverware).

Magic Lantern Cinema Presents:

A Second Helping
Curated by Colleen Doyle
Wed. Nov. 28th // 9:30 PM
Cable Car Cinema // Providence, RI
Admission $5
The discovery of a network of 100 billion neurons in the gut led scientists to nickname it our “second brain.” Like the brain in our head, it is engaged in perpetual contact with the outside world—via the food we swallow. It is the job of the gut to take in an extensive array of external matter, break it down to component parts, send it off to various organs, and turn it into us. Whether we use food to nourish, fuel, pleasure, punish, or heal, it is a part of our human experience. It is no wonder that in its incredibly wide-ranging forms, food is a subject rendered in every medium from paint, to music, to motion picture. This program is the second installment of a Magic Lantern series of food shows that examine different representations of foods on film. As the holiday meal leftovers empty completely from the refrigerator, consider a menu of films about systems new and old that put food in our bellies. Moving from educational films about the body as a machine and the produce canning industry, to an experimental film about a camera’s rude encounter with a breakfast table spread, to an abstract animation of a dancing stringy green vegetable, these works promise to stir up the appetite of our second brain, while bedding down that of our first.
FEATURING: Carpenter-Goldman Laboratories, Inc., “How the Fires of Our Body Are Fed: A Study of the Human Digestive Process” (1926); Charles and Ray Eames, “Bread” (1953); California Packing Corporation, “Pick of the Pod” (1939); Michael Snow “Breakfast (Table Top Dolly)” (1976); John Whitney, “Celery Stalks at Midnight” (1952); Videofreex, “Chicken Dinner” (1971); Naomi Uman “Leche” (1998); Dimitri Kirsanoff, “La Mort du Cerf (Death of a Stag)” (1951)TRT ca. 96 mins


“How the Fires of Our Body Are Fed: A Study of the Human Digestive Process,” Carpenter-Goldman Laboratories, Inc., 1926, 16mm film on video, b&w, silent, 10 min
In this early educational film, the human body is not unlike a steam ship. Both require a regular supply of fuel to work. The image of a man shoveling coal in the stokehole of a ship at sea parallels a shot of a hungry man eating a sandwich during his lunch break onshore. Early microphotography reveals peristalsis (wave-like muscle contractions that move food through the digestive tract) in a nematode, illustrating basic the mechanics of the human gut.

“Bread,” Charles and Ray Eames, 1953, 16mm film on video, color, sound, 7 min
Witness the splendor of bread!

“Pick of the Pod,” California Packing Corporation, 1939, 16mm film on video, color, sound, 10 min
Opening shots of bustling city streets bathed in late afternoon light are injected with the narration, “5:15 American standard time, the day end rush is on as homebound workers throng the streets of every city, town, and hamlet. The Jane and John Does of the worker day world, all of them made kin by thoughts of home and that looking ahead to dinner gleam in there eyes.” So what dinner awaits them at home? Del Monte brand canned peas of course. Enough for the whole family, available any season of the year because of the new technological marvels of the canning industry.

“Breakfast (Table Top Dolly),” Michael Snow, 1976, 16mm, color, sound, 15 min

A camera tracks across the length of a breakfast table, toppling over and mowing down any flatware, vessels, and fixings in its path.

“Celery Stalks at Midnight,” John Whitney, 1952, 16mm on video, b&w, sound, 3 min

A short by the experimental animator best known for his work on the opening credits of Vertigo.  According to David E. James, “Celery” was made with the aid of an “oil bath that could be manipulated to admit the passage of light,” and visualizes the music comprising its score: Will Bradley and His Orchestra’s rendition of the jazz song by the same name.

“Chicken Dinner,” Videofreex, 1971, video, b&w, sound, 6 min

Summertime in rural upstate New York, a group of young adults walk each other through the steps of tying, beheading, plucking, cutting, and cooking a chicken for dinner.

“Leche,” Naomi Uman, 1998, 16mm, b&w, sound, 30 min
On a small family dairy farm in Aguascalientes, Mexico, a ranchero practices rope tricks, a woman’s hands press liquid from cheese, children stand still in the frame as if posing for a still portrait, a calf nurses, an intolerable snake is decapitated, another set of hands pound tortillas, cows are branded, a dead coyote hangs from a tree, crickets mate, and finally an ailing dairy cow is loaded into a trailer and driven away down the road on her way to the market. Uman hand processed this film in buckets and hung it to dry onsite.

“La Mort du Cerf (Death of a Stag),” Dimitri Kirsanoff, 1951, 16mm on video, b&w, sound, 12 min.
A documentary of a stag hunting party known for its expressive use of cross-cutting.

**Magic Lantern is generously funded by the Malcolm S. Forbes Center for Culture and Media Studies at Brown University.

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