Title: Slow Food Story
Director: Stefano Sardo
Slow Food Story is the account of a slow revolution. Twenty-five years of quiet and steady rebellion to fast food thinking. Carlo Petrini is the founder of the Slow Food movement that started out in the small town of Bra and conquered the entire globe.
Director Stefano Sardo has undoubtably the gift of storytelling, since his documentary isn’t a mere collage of how the entire movement came to life, but portrays how a group of friends, from a small Italian province pursued a dream of a better world, with persistence, temerity and a touch of playful fooling around. Focus on food began as an informal talking shop for young foodies in Bra, who assembled in out-of-the-way pubs and trattorias around the town, to eat what was provided and drink the local wine.
The actual Slow Food movement began in Italy with the founding of its forerunner organisation, ArciGola, in 1986 to resist the opening of a McDonald’s near the Spanish Steps in Rome. In 1989, the manifesto of the international Slow Food movement was signed in a Paris theatre, by delegates from 15 countries. It was a call to arms for gourmets everywhere. “Against the universal madness of the Fast Life,” the Manifesto declared, “we need to choose the defence of tranquil material pleasure. Against those, and there are many of them, who confuse efficiency with frenzy, we propose the vaccine of a sufficient portion of assured sensual pleasure, to be practiced in slow and prolonged enjoyment…starting from the kitchen table.”
But before this important stepping stone Petrini, ever since the 70s, had been a fervent contributor of culinary articles to Italian daily newspapers such as Il Manifesto and l’Unità and he now is a regular columnist of La Stampa and La Repubblica.
In 1996 he launched the Salone del Gusto, a huge showcase for foods of excellence from all over the world; the second edition, held in a former Fiat factory on the outskirts of Turin in 1998, was arguably the decisive moment in the Slow Food Movement’s history, when it became clear that it had global appeal. And in 2004, in an event that complemented the Salone del Gusto a few yards away, Slow Food hosted its first Terra Madre (Mother Earth) event – that the illustrious Italian film-maker Ermanno Olmi captured in his documentary ‘Terra Madre’ – bringing 5,000 small-scale farmers and fishermen from 130 countries to Turin to show and talk about their work and share ideas on how to secure and improve it.
Without ever abandoning his hometown made up of 27 thousand inhabitants, Carlo Petrini has created a movement that has expanded to 150 countries. In October 2004, he founded the University of Gastronomic Sciences, a school intended to bridge the gap between agriculture and gastronomy.
Through the course of the years Carlo’s vision has captivated the hearts of countless countries, who have become more and more aware that we truly are what we eat. And has reminded entire communities of the hedonistic ritual of conviviality around a table of healthy local food. No wonder he was chosen as one of Time magazine’s heroes of the year.
Written by: Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi