Diving into Film Reviews

I previously wrote about the documentary film Dive! and posted the trailer. I finally got the chance to watch it and want to pass along a hearty endorsement.

It’s a surprisingly personal film, a point driven home in the opening credits when filmmaker Jeremy Seifert’s young son scatters the oranges used to spell out the film’s title. We’re basically invited into Seifert’s dumpster diving world of family and friends. More interesting, though, is when we travel along with Seifert as he examines food waste and its effects.

image courtesy of Dive!The 42-minute documentary makes an important point–while most supermarkets donate food, they often just give baked goods and other shelf-stable items while throwing away all perishables. Hence the abundance of organic chicken, blueberries and bagged salads we Seifert and his pals pluck from dumpster after dumpster.

This abundant waste is communicated when Seifert decides he needs a storage freezer for all of his goods. In a week, he fills it with a year’s supply of meat. And his wife confides that they have a hard time keeping up with all the food available for the taking.

I also appreciated the frank talk about the legality and ethics of dumpster diving. Is it in an act of civil disobedience, as one participant claimed? Perhaps. Is it fun to vicariously “dive” via the film? Most definitely.

My one complaint was that some of the interviews were done by phone, so we just hear the subject’s voice. In particular, I would have loved to have seen Timothy Jones, as I’ve spoken to him a bunch, but never met him. But that is easily forgiven by the end of the film, when we learn that the film’s budget hovered around $200.

Finally, Dive‘s use of stop-motion animation with beans and other food items to illustrate certain points was mesmerizing. (I could have done without the writing in whipped cream, though). In sum, the film’s content is important and delivered with warmth and effectiveness. And there’s even a bit of humor, too.

At the end of the credits, we see:

“Disclaimer for people into suing: This video is not intended to promote dumpster diving…”

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  1. Posted March 3, 2010 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    I concur with praise for Dive! In fact, we (the Central MO Dietetic Association) are showing the film at our local public library later this month to raise awareness.
    I keep hearing agribusiness propaganda about how we need biotechnology (read: patented expensive seeds and more pesticides) to feed the world, but I can’t help thinking that if we wasted less, and got better at distribution, and regional production, we could feed a whole lot more.
    I especially appreciate the learn/act section of the Dive website, specifically Jeremy’s insightful link to the Good Samaritan Act.
    Thanks Jeremy for a great film, and Jonathan for creating this website.
    Melinda Hemmelgarn, M.S., R.D.

  2. Posted March 15, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Well this post made my day. It was very informative and beautiful. Thank you!

  3. Neil
    Posted March 16, 2010 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Thank you for bringing the film to my attention. I decided to purchase it after reading about it and I am glad I did. I will be teaching a lesson on Food Waste in my upcoming summer class (college students)–it will be the last lesson after discussing agricultural/gardening practices relating to soil maintenance and conservation and water use. This video will make an excellent visual introduction to the topic.

  4. Posted January 9, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Permalink


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