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Dumpster Diving For Dinner--A Social Commentary On Hunger And Waste That Is Fun, But Also A Call To Action
on July 1, 2011
Note: As befitting the subject matter of this film, the DVD is packaged in an eco-friendly cardboard sleeve as opposed to a plastic case.
"Dive! Living Off America's Waste" is a fun and informative short form documentary that takes an intimate look at how much perfectly acceptable food gets discarded in America on a daily basis. While this is surely not a new topic, filmmaker Jeremy Seifert introduces the subject in a decidedly offbeat manner. Seifert and his cohorts make a practice of dumpster diving in grocery store refuse to supply food for their respective tables. While unsavory at times, it is quite remarkable what gets discarded when you think of how many people go hungry on a daily basis. Even with supermarkets (the film is set in Los Angeles) donating to food banks and shelters, there is so much still ending up as mere trash. Seifert puts a charismatic face on the phenomenon of dumpster diving, to be sure, and this part of the film is pure entertainment. Moments with his family are quite funny, I loved the big garbage meat barbecue, and one of the divers is a gourmet chef that prepares a restaurant quality dish from his found treasures!
Of course, the film has loftier goals. Through colorful graphics and animation--there are plenty of statistics provided about food waste. Seifert inundates you with information and it becomes mind boggling just how far down the wrong path we've gone as a nation of consumption. Unlike some films, however, Seifert also presents his case as a call to arms. Offering both personal advice on practical home solutions to reduce extra waste as well as tips about how to become more involved within the community--the film really attempts to cover a lot of material.
A thoroughly engaging film, and an easy recommendation, "Dive!" may be a little over-stuffed with ideas to communicate in its brief 53 minute format. Covering so many topics--dumpster diving, personal usage of food, corporate waste, social action, hunger and homelessness--there's a lot to sink your teeth into. As such, it doesn't delve too deeply into any particular topic, but serves as an introductory primer (or refresher) to a lot of eye-opening issues. Hopefully, it will inspire you to affect change in some way--and, as I said, it does offer some ideas that you might be able to incorporate into your daily life. "Dive!" may not be the most comprehensive film you can find about some of its themes, but it manages to combine its various threads and talking points into an entertaining format. Check it out, it's worth it. KGHarris, 7/11.