A decade after he investigated the impact of corporatism on wine culture in ‘Mondovino’, director Jonathan Nossiter returns to the vineyard with this smaller-scale report on the conundrums facing artisanal Italian producers who want to produce fully organic wines, but find themselves battling the bureaucrats enforcing sterile conformity.
Much of the film is spent walking and talking in Piedmont and Emilia-Romagna, or just lingering over a long lunch on a sunny terrace while the issues are batted back and forth. It’s light on statistics and substance, but the people (and their dogs) are lovely. Clips from a variety of classic movies (Bresson, Chaplin et al) plus fragments of vintage Italian TV pop up to make some vague argument about learning lessons from the past, but Nossiter almost luxuriates in his film’s casual construction, as unkempt and unruly as the old vines on the hillsides.
It’s ramshackle, endearing, and ultimately makes a crucial point about society’s need to take responsibility for what it consumes, rather than leaving everything to industrialists and civil servants. Oh, and you’ll be gasping for a glass of white afterwards.