A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
In an age where super foods dominate our diets, detox cleanses are commonplace and vegetarianism is nothing short of an epidemic, it’s both interesting and infuriating to witness the surge of know-it-all overnight dieticians preaching their knowledge and beliefs regarding certain everyday food items.
With quinoa, kale and avocados entering our lives with an all-new land-speed record, one could assume we as a populous are eating healthier, right? Being healthy is as big of a trend as tribal tattoos at music festivals, so what’s the problem?
Well, as Australian actor Damon Gameau discovers, what we are told and thus believe to be ‘healthy’ is not healthy at all. There have been several insightful documentaries focusing on food production, health and ethics, but what Gameau sets out to learn about revolves primarily around sugar, something you’ll now want to avoid like the plague… at least initially.
Accompanied by my girlfriend and immediate family, our group sat in a medium sized theatre at The Nova, cracking ironic jokes about not visiting the candy bar prior to the film. Although I couldn’t see it personally, I assumed the remainder of the audience part took in a collective rolling of the eyes.
The lights dimmed, the advertisements began and within a couple of minutes of hearing about something real estate related, a glamorous advertisement for KFC began to play.
Various tantalising slow-motion shots of succulent, mouth-watering chicken pieces being meticulously and individually prepared and ‘good for you’? Yeah, nice try.
“That Sugar Film” is written, directed and stars Damon Gameau and features several familiar faces as well as countless professionals in the health industry from both Australia and The USA. Gameau sets off on the mission to expose the harsh truths about sugar, offering insights into the history of sugar, the different types of sugar, its various sources, the compelling effects and how we can maintain a healthy balanced diet at the end of it all.
Along the way, Gameau conducts an experiment on himself, going 60 straight days eating 40 teaspoons of sugar per day (a calculated daily average) through various products off the shelf that are perceived to be ‘healthy foods’; the results are shocking to say the least.
Gameau travels across America as well as voyaging to Alice Springs to see first-hand how certain industries have capitalised upon entire towns and communities, seeing first hand the appalling state of health the brutal stronghold has resulted in.
“That Sugar Film” is a cross between 2004’s “Super Size Me” and 2008’s “Food Inc.”. It’s one man’s experiment to bring forth the inconvenient truths regarding a certain diet-related product that delivers the cold hard facts in a didactic, but humorous manner.
“That Sugar Film” is stylistic, flamboyant, colourful and exciting, much like a sugary lollipop, and this makes the fundamental message much easier to feed to a wide audience, who find it easier to digest. Having a brother who is studying dietetics, it was interesting to see his reaction to the film.
He said the film “explored a sample of many different areas in sugar, all of which could have their own feature-length film.” This is a fantastic insight into the magnitude of sugar and the vastness of its dominance in everyday life.
The film is well fleshed out; offering a lot of information that otherwise would have alienated a mass audience if it were simply transcribed on a sheet of paper. The range of professionals was diverse enough to give the topic of sugar a thorough examination, but there was definitely room for an additional few.
There are many recognisable faces sprinkled throughout the documentary that add to the sweetness. Scenes seeing Hugh Jackman deliver a history lesson using sand art and Stephen Fry explain sugar’s various forms in a Dr. Seuss-esque poem are just a taste of what to look out for.
All in all, “That Sugar Film” is an important documentary that brings light to the topic that is commonly misconceived, misunderstood and misinterpreted.
The ominous truths that emerge within the quirky doco fascinate and educate, ultimately leaving you with a lot to think about when it comes to your own way of eating. “That Sugar Film” is something we need to see as a general audience.
Too many casual nutritionists are preaching their nonsensical, false minutia when it comes to the subject of dieting and health which makes for awkward, infuriating conversations. At last, “That Sugar Film” can act as a point of reference to the everyday individual who seeks to debunk these myths and overcome these self-indulged ‘experts’ in a respectable and, more importantly, well-informed way.
What are YOU doing to fix the problem? Damon Gameau has done something, and it has certainly struck a cord.
For a documentary full of information and cogent facts, the soul message at the end of the day is what our parents have been telling us from the start; eat your fruit and vegetables, kids! (But remember not to juice them…)