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Culinary Cinema : Drinks
by Mary Nyiri


Would you prefer a glass of fine wine or a cup of raw goat’s milk? Whatever your beverage preference to complement your meal or end the evening, just as wine and milk are completely different drinks, two very different styles of filmmaking are used to examine wine production in California and goat’s milk in Oregon. André - The Voice of Wine is an in-depth biography of André Tchelistcheff, narrated by Ralph Fiennes filled with photographs and stories and interviews. Compare that to Boone, which is essentially filming several people as they live and work at a small goat farm in rural Oregon. Both films provide insight into living in America, whether it is living or losing the dream. (MNW)

André - The Voice of Wine
Mark Tschelistcheff, USA/Germany

Condensing the incredible life of André Tschelistcheff into a 98-minute documentary is quite an achievement, fascinatingly accomplished by director and grandnephew Mark Tchelistcheff. From his roots as Russian aristocracy, to the battlefields of civil war, then fleeing Russia and the Bolsheviks, André’s journey is so remarkable that some of his experiences are actually fictionalized in scenes for the film Dr. Zhivago. Once believed to have died in battle in Crimea, André rose from his tumultuous beginnings to live the American dream. The film details his long journey into wine which began as a student in France where he had earned a reputation as an excellent winemaker. When Georges de Latour visited to find a new French winemaker for his neglected vineyard, he returned to California with a Russian student instead. André and his family moved to Napa Valley in 1938 and much of the film follows his extraordinary development over the next 35 years as André turns Beaulieu, and, along with it, California, into highly acclaimed wine producers. In a certain sense, André is the terroir of Napa. Whether you are a wine lover or not, you will love the charismatic André and his passion for wine. (MNW)

Christopher LaMarca, USA

It is a dark and stormy night. A flashlight provides a thin beam of light in a pitch-black barn. After what looks like much suffering, both on the part of the farmer and the mother, a baby goat is born. So begins life on a farm where goats are raised for their milk. A woman and two men carry out daily chores throughout the seasons on a wooded hillside farm in rural Oregon. Their methods involve few tools and no artificial ingredients; it is strictly organic with much reliance on Mother Nature. There is very little dialogue except what is necessary to run the farm. An obviously well-loved dog dies and must be buried. The baby goat is sickly and needs to be bottle fed. The mature goats pay strict attention to everyone and everything going on around them. Animals are fed. Trees are felled. Machinery repairs are made. The goats are milked by hand. Vegetables are grown and picked. Cheese and sauces are packaged. Despite the dawn-to-dusk hard work of the committed farm workers, they are not earning enough to keep the farm going. To appreciate the value of this film, you will need to read about the farmers and their projects. Life on the farm, living off the land can sound utopian, but reality bites. (MNW)