In his new documentary Terra Madre, inspired by the Terra Madre network of food communities, internationally renowned Italian director Ermanno Olmi delivers a powerful message about the critical issue of food, and its economic, environmental and social implications.
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.
‘Only Ermanno Olmi’s sensitivity could express the ethical value of this extraordinary gathering, Terra Madre,’ said 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’.
Shooting commenced at the meeting in 2006, following which Olmi embarked upon an in-depth exploration that culminated in Autumn 2008, prior to the following edition of Terra Madre. The documentary includes moments from the international gathering, and follows some of the participants on returning to their homelands, interweaving their stories with the director’s own vision and ideas, to create a foretelling, political piece.
‘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.’
The world premiere of Terra Madre was held on February 6 at Cinema Paris in the festival’s Berlinale Special section. A second showing of the documentary was made on February 12 in the festival’s Kulinarisches Kino (Culinary Cinema) section. The documentary was also previewed during the Slow Food on Film festival in Italy on May 6, and is now showing in many movie theaters round the country.