This Year's Mill Valley Film Festival is Screening Five Movies About Food

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Good River
Urban idyll: HomeGrown chronicles a Pasadena family's life off the grid.
​Maybe Julie & Julia whetted your appetite for movies that feature food and cooking. Maybe Food, Inc. roused your anti-agribiz ire. Or maybe, like SFoodie, you've always been the kind of toothpick that sought out not only Eat Drink Man Woman (and its American remake, Tortilla Soup) but treasure scenes like the one in The French Connection where Gene Hackman sips cold coffee in the rain while watching his drug dealer prey enjoy a multicourse feast in fancy French restaurant.

If so, the upcoming 32nd Mill Valley Film Festival will certainly appeal. Apron Strings, (playing Oct. 15 and 18), a first feature from a New Zealand woman director, contrasts a glamorous TV celebrity chef with the owner of an old-fashioned bakery, in parallel mother-and-son psychological dramas.

The remaining four appear in the festival's Valley of the Docs section. The timely Tapped (Oct. 11 and 14) examines bottled water in all its aspects, from sources to plastic containers. Eat the Sun (Oct. 9 and 17) is about a man who claims not to have eaten solid food for 411 days -- he absorbs nutrients by staring directly at the sun for 44 minutes a day. (Can the Sungazing diet book be far behind?)

Two short documentaries, HomeGrown and Hidden Bounty of Marin: Farm Families in Transition (Oct. 11 and 13) are an irresistible pairing. HomeGrown chronicles the back-to-the-land, off-the-grid quest of a Pasadena family that grows 6,000 pounds of food annually on an 1/5-acre site right off the 210 Freeway. Hidden Bounty of Marin visits nine of the more than 200 small organic and sustainable family farms in the county, including Marin Sun Farms, Straus, Hog Island, and Cowgirl Creamery. Marin's Peter Coyote narrates in seductive tones.

Tickets go on sale to California Film Institute members this Sunday, September 20, and to the general public next Thursday, September 24.

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