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Food Fighter

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Dan Goldberg’s Food Fighter is about the turbulent travails of event manager turned food waste activist and CEO of Food Charity OzHarvest, Ronnie Kahn.

Originally from Johannesburg, Kahn emigrated to Australia in 1998. She became so dismayed with the wastage of food she saw at her own events that she gave her business up to become a social activist and founder of OzHarvest.

For the last 14 years, Kahn and OzHarvest have been picking up food discarded by large organisations, and distributing it to those most in need.

The organisation now collects over 100 tonnes of food wastage a week – edible food that would otherwise go to landfill. Kilos of bananas and fresh produce deemed “too ugly” to be eaten, perfectly good food left on planes, excess bakery products from supermarkets, etc.

The film trails Kahn’s tireless global quest to raise awareness around the issue, as she goes from Sydney to Bangkok, to the UK and Paris, battling politicians, personally inspecting bins full of food, to opening the first Australian free pickup ‘OzHarvest Market’ in Sydney.

A crucial moment is when Kahn goes to France, where laws are in place that mandate supermarkets give away their excess food, where those in need can walk into a supermarket and simply take away food.

This is as much a personal portrait of Kahn as it is a documentary on food wastage. There are private, quiet scenes of Kahn’s family life, her heritage, and recollections of South Africa. Many scenes feel as if we’re a part of Kahn’s life.

There is no division between what we see of Kahn at home, and Kahn crusading for her cause.

In scenes where she’s snubbed by politicians, confronts those dumping the food, talks about her past in apartheid-torn South Africa, her determination shines through.

What the documentary exposes is the staggering amount of food being thrown away – perfectly consumable food, reportedly costing the Australian economy $20 billion a year. There are mind-boggling images of waste.

This is a compassionate and impactful portrait of a determined activist and her cause; one that will surely open people’s eyes.

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Returning to a familiar cinematic world, Michel Hazanavicius, director of The Artist, takes on the tumultuous life of a French great in Redoubtable aka Godard, Mon Amour.

 Nearly 50 years after the Paris student riots in 1968, of which Redoubtable is the subject and director Jean-Luc Godard was a participant in, and released at a time when the master himself has a new film debuting at Cannes [The Image Book], Hazanavicius has adapted a memoir by one-time Godard love, actress Anne Wiazemsky.

The film centers on the fraught 1967-68 period, a time of dramatic change for both the world and the Nouvelle Vague figurehead. It is during this period that Godard (played by Louis Garrel) courts his future wife Anne Wiazemsky (Stacey Martin of Nymphomaniac), who appeared in Robert Bresson’s Au Hazard Balthazar.

This is a film that those who are interested in and care about cinema will love. They are the target audience and will appreciate an attempt to shine a light on the enigmatic figure that is Godard, with Hazanavicius emulating some of the tricks developed by Godard, along with the chic style of France at the time.

Interested more in Godard’s persona and identity than myth, the film explores a pivotal time in the legendary filmmaker’s life after the global success of Breathless and Contempt, when he started to question what he believed in, and began to veer towards a more radical approach, entering his Maoist phase and moving away from commercial movies. There is a great quote in the film that exemplifies this: “I’m not Godard”.

While the film doesn’t capture the panache of Godard’s films (though Michel Hazanavicius’ colourful filmmaking style is entertaining in its own right) or Godard himself, or quite bring the figure to life, it offers ample indulgence for film fans and Francophiles alike.