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Published August 27, 2014

Food is one of life’s great joys, and no one believes that more than Carlo Petrini. Slow Food Story is a biopic of Petrini and his involvement in founding the international Slow Food movement, and how it came to be.

If you don’t know much about the Slow Food movement, here’s the rundown: in 1986, a McDonald’s opened in Rome, which was met with disdain on the part of many Italians. Petrini especially found this idea repugnant, believing that food plays a large part in the culture and heritage of a people, and three years later, Slow Food was created. Its philosophy is to reject industralised, impersonal, fast food and embrace the handmade, fresh, local, small producer and the food and drink that comes from that. (Find out more at the official website of Slow Food.) Slow Food Story is a bit of a misnomer in that rather than delving into the subject of slow food (which could be a documentary by itself), it focuses more on Carlo Petrini and his role in the Slow Food movement.

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That’s not to say it’s boring – Petrini is a charismatic, “big personality” Italian, and has a storied history as a communist, radio pirate, activist, general rabble-rouser and food-lover. The film features his one of his best friends, Azio Citi, who does a lot of the narrating, and many other friends and acquaintances are interviewed. Among these interviews are charming animations and footage of Petrini – mostly making speeches or eating.

If you’re like me and don’t know a whole lot about the Slow Food movement, Slow Food Story can be a little confusing, especially because there are so many interviews, and many of them are subtitled. It’s enough to grasp the celebrity status of Carlo Petrini, and also enough to pique one’s interest in the Slow Food movement – viewers will learn enough to decide whether they want to dig deeper into Slow Food, or go away knowing a little more about Slow Food.

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In its fifth year, the Environmental Film Festival Melbourne seeks to challenge the way people think about the natural world. It will be taking place from the 4-12 September, and screen documentaries, shorts and special events, including a special screening of Slow Food Story, complete with food tastings.

Find out more about Slow Food Story and buy tickets at its EFFM page, and check out more of EFFM’s offerings, including films Gasland II, Ringbalin and Once Upon a Forest at effm.org.au.

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