American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
Eat your vegetables, they're good for you. That's what we were told as kids. Documentaries are sometimes deemed the broccoli of cinema: more nutritional than enjoyable. "A Place at the Table," however, is a good documentary that is good for you.
The bad news is that broccoli and bananas are neither available nor affordable for many Americans. That's the message of Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush's "A Place at the Table," a necessary report on the national issue of hunger.
"The relative price of fresh fruits and vegetables has gone up by 40 percent since 1980, while the relative price of processed foods has gone down by about 40 percent," states Marion Nestle, a nutrition and public health professor. "We're spending $20 billion a year on agricultural subsidies for the wrong foods."
"A Place at the Table" uncovers other contradictions. "Mississippi has the highest rate of obesity," an onscreen title card notes. Bad diets often are the result of low income and cheap, processed food. About 50 million Americans "don't know where their next meal is coming from," as "food insecurity" is defined. This costs our country $167 billion annually.