01 September 2012

Film review: Mondovino (2004) by Jonathan Nossiter, **

Synopsis

Filmmaker Jonathan Nossiter, who loves wine, looks at the international wine business. He offers his personal view of how business concerns and the homogenisation of tastes around the world are changing the way wine is being made. 

Review

The movie is good in that it points the finger to a phenomenon that is pervasive in the world of wine, as it is in every aspect of our life: globalization. The director's thesis, which he does not spell out but appears clearly, is that this is a bad thing. I, on the contrary, think it is a good development for wine, mainly because it allows for greater choice.

Far from homogenizing the taste of the world's wines, globalization is making any wine, in any style, available everywhere in the world, and this gives each of us a chance to choose what we like, how much we want to spend.

He implicitly accuses Robert Parker (whom he interviews) to be in cahoot with American business, while in fact parker has been very beneficial to French wines and Bordeaux in particular. He received countless awards from France, including from the president of the Republic.

Nossiter is tricky as he often hides his camera and films without the subject being aware. That is not correct in my view, even for a documentarist.

He is also political, but out of context. He underlines how a mayor of a French town who rejected American money to invest in the local vineyards was a communist (good) while Italian nobles who accept to work with the same Americans has grandparents who supported fascism (bad). I find some of these people who live in their past rather disagreeable, but that says nothing about their wines. How totally irrelevant.

Finally, he never misses a chance to film any dog that happens to be in front of his camera. For example when he interviews Parker he goes at great length to emphasize how his dogs fart a log, and that is really too much. 

Today, no matter what Nossiter says, we have more diversified and better quality wines around the world than ever before.

Here is another good review of this film I agree with by Decanter.

See my other reviews of film about wine here in this blog.


 

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