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Terra Madre by Ermanno Olmi at Berlin

Terra Madre, a documentary on a growing network of farmers, cooks and researchers working towards sustainable food production from Italian director Ermanno Olmi, will have its world premiere at the Berlinale international film festival on Friday February 6.

Internationally renowned Olmi delivers a powerful message about the crucial issue of food, and its economic, environmental and social implications, in this production inspired by the Terra Madre network of food communities, initiated by Slow Food in 2004.

In his signature style, Ermanno Olmi has shaped an investigative documentary that reckons with the destiny of the planet. While the approach is immediately recognizable and strongly linked to his previous films, it also displays a very unique structure in the documentary genre.

Terra Madre was conceived in 2006 by Ermanno Olmi and Slow Food president Carlo Petrini, united by their passion for the work and values of the farmers and others gathered at the international Terra Madre gathering in Turin.

With support from Slow Food, Cineteca di Bologna and Film Commission Torino Piedmonte, shooting commenced at this meeting in 2006. From this beginning, Ermanno Olmi embarked upon an in-depth exploration that culminated in Autumn 2008, prior to the following edition of Terra Madre.

“Only Ermanno Olmi’s sensitivity could express the high ethical value of this extraordinary gathering, Terra Madre - states Carlo Petrini. - This is a global network made up of a rich diversity of people, professions, and cultures and beliefs, which stretches to 153 countries across the world. It sows and cultivates positive ideas for the protection of biodiversity, respect for the environment and the dignity of food, for a future of peace and harmony with nature”.

Terra Madre includes moments from the international meeting, and follows some of the participants on returning to their homelands, interweaving their stories with the directors own vision and ideas, to achieve the documentary’s original premise: to create a foretelling, political film.

“At the Terra Madre meeting I recognized the peasants who used to live in my countryside, at the time of my childhood - states Ermanno Olmi. - Their faces look alike, no matter which corner of the world they come from. On those faces I could see the same marks, those that remind you of the landscape of ploughed fields, the rows of trees, the pastures. Today that world is besieged by big business, which only aims at profits. The peasants also want to have a profit, but their attachment to the land is also an act of love: this feeling harbours the respect for nature.”

by S. C.
09 february 2009, World News > Italy

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