The last thing one probably thinks of when breathing in the rolling hills and golden plateaus of the picturesque French countryside is cancer. Yet, in director Jean-Paul Jaud’s new documentary, cancer is exactly what’s in them thar hills. With hard data under his belt (sperm counts in males have gone down 50 percent in the last 50 years and in France alone, cancer in males has risen 93 percent in 25 years), Jaud focuses on one particular village in France, Barjac, where the mayor has instituted an organic food program for the locals. “They throw cost at us,” he says to a group gathered to learn more about organics, “but you can’t put a price on human health.” No doubt of the initially unnerving aspects of the film for anyone this side of the pond will be watching the French children eat their pre-organic lunch—lentils, salad, bananas and sausages—a nutritional palette that already rivals our own. Also addressed is the nagging question posed by some organic naysayers regarding our continually increasing life expectancy. The cases being studied, the researchers point out, are of people born in the 1920s and 30s—people who spent the first 20 years of their lives free from preservatives, radiation and pesticides. Not only will those numbers begin to decrease, international researchers now say our children will be the first generation in history to be less healthy than the previous one.
Food Beware: The Organic French Revolution, First Run Features. 112 min. English Subtitles. Unrated. List price: $24.95.