Each February since 1978, thousands of journalists, filmmakers, film buffs and cultural enthusiasts flock to Germany’s buzzing capital for one of the world's leading film festivals and most important dates on the international film industry’s calendar. The Berlin International Film Festival (also known as Berlinale) screens over 400 films each edition in a diverse range of genres, lengths and formats - from avant-garde and art house to movies for young audiences. This year, two films from the Slow Food network, Couscous Island, directed by Francesco Amato and Stefano Scarafia, and Slow Food Story by Stefano Sardo are being screened in the Culinary Cinema section of the festival this week, offering food for thought to the international audience.
Set on a small Senegalese island, Couscous Island welcomes us into the lives of the women who make an unusual salted couscous, now a Slow Food Presidium. The community is Catholic and Muslim, but women share meeting places, religious celebrations and live in mutual respect. They work together using traditional methods, from seeding the millet in the land of baobabs to washing it in seawater, a ritual that depicts the meeting between land and sea that characterizes the traditional food culture of the island. Watch Couscous Island here.
Taking a step back, Slow Food Story tells the story of the ‘slow revolution’, the evolution of the Slow Food movement that began 25 years ago with a protest at the opening of a McDonald’s restaurant in Rome and, led by its founder Carlo Petrini, grew to become active in more than 150 countries. The film recounts a journey based on serious issues for humankind, but one that has never lost its joie-de-vivre. “It’s a story of pranks and political passions, of restaurants and rediscovered peasant rites, of wine and journeys and gambles, some won and some lost but all taken with the same unsinkable, grouchy irony,” the synopsis recounts. “The film shows how even the most important cultural adventures can be born of a tongue-in-cheek approach to life.”
Petrini will attend the screening and also participate in a debate “The Political Gardener Talk” where he will discuss Slow Food’s Thousand Gardens in Africa project, an ambitious task to create a thousand food gardens in schools, communities across the continent. Together with author Dr. Harald Lemke, Petrini will aim to answer the question, “Can we change the world by making the garden a model for society?”
Help us finance the remaining 304 gardens! Click here to donate to the Thousand Gardens in Africa project.
Find out more about Slow Food Presidia, projects to support quality productions at risk of extinction.
Photo: © Richard Hubner, Berlinale