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“Rotten,” a new Netflix documentary about food

a closer look at where the food on our plates comes from

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robert99 robert99 Sweden Posts: 1360
1 16 Jan 2018

There’s an old movie industry maxim that getting people to watch a documentary is like asking them to eat spinach. Luckily, those old movie industry guys have been ushered out of the building and documentaries, like spinach (lightly sautéed with garlic), are being appreciated like never before. Netflix has fully embraced the documentary form — not that they’re being all noble; nonfiction fare sure costs a lot less to produce than a Will Smith orc-fest — giving us a cavalcade of choices, putting out features like “The Square,” “Virunga” and “13th,” and series such as “Making a Murderer” and “Hip Hop Evolution.”

Its latest series, “Rotten,” which began airing this month, asks audiences to take a closer look at where the food on our plates came from. It’s not an assault on our diets as much as an eye-opening examination into the business of food production and the corporate and criminal malfeasance that is a part of the multibillion-dollar food industry. Episodes on honey production, chicken and dairy farming, cod fishing, and garlic imports unravel through smart, long-form journalism that zeroes in on compelling characters involved in (as perpetrators or victims) criminal cases told through tight narratives that are positioned in greater contexts.

No surprise, then, that a journalist worth her salt, Christine Haughney, a veteran of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, was the lead investigator for the series. (Zero Point Zero, the production company behind the Anthony Bourdain juggernaut, produced “Rotten.”)