Monday, September 13, 2004


Mondovino is a documentary about winemaking, shot by Jonathan Nossiter. Nossiter travels all over the world, from France, to Italy, to California, and to Argentina, interviewing people involved in the industry, trying to learn why they do what they do. He interviews people who have their own small family vineyards, to corporate giants such as Robert Mondavi and Mouton-Rothschild. The film shows the impact of modern society, globalization, and even wine critics such as Robert Parker, on smaller vintners, the industry as a whole, and the wine they produce.

It is an interesting documentary, that brings to light a number of intriguing aspects of winemaking and the people and companies involved. Nossiter said in the Q&A that he wanted to present the stories and let people make their own decisions, although what I took from the film is that bigger is not better, and globalization in winemaking is not a good thing. Some of the people in the film have captivating stories, one family in particular, with two generations involved in various aspects of the business.

Nossiter appeared at the screening and attended a Q&A session afterwards.

- Nossiter is a trained sommelier, hence his interest in wine.

- When asked why the movie featured so many dogs, he said it just came out of the footage, that so many people involved in the industry seemed to have dogs. In fact, he wasn't much of a dog person before starting on the documentary, but now, he owns a golden retriever.

- Nossiter was asked how he pitched the film to the people he interviewed. He said he approached them as a lover of wine, who wanted to find out who they were and why they were involved with wine.

- The film as screened in Toronto is 30 minutes shorter than the version shown at Cannes.

- Filming occurred over the last two years, and is being made into a 10-part miniseries, 1 hour per episode.

The documentary was shot on a hand-held digital camera which seemed to afford greater access, but was hard to take for a full two-and-a-half hours. There is also quite a lot to absorb, and in some ways, the 10-part series might serve some of the material better. But it was definitely an interesting movie that certainly opened my eyes to the good and the bad of how the wine I drink makes it to the table.


Superb Coverage -- I will link to your site from Cinema Minima

My experiences at the Toronto International Film Festival. Note this blog is not affiliated with the Toronto International Film Festival Group or the festival itself.
Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites