Adrian Herrera, Roberto Ruiz, Drew Deckman, Rick Bayless, Albert Adria, Dr. Rafael Anson Oliart, Juana Bravo Lazaro, Danny Trejo (Narrator)
Movie Review: The Michoacan File
Bernardo Arsuaga's feature doc The Michoacan File has already picked up three prizes early in its festival journey at Newport Beach Film Festival (Best Feature Doc), Berlin Indie Film Festival (Best Historical Film, September Award), and Cine Paris Film Festival (Best Historical Film, August Award). The engaging and entertaining documentary explores the origin, history, and impact of Mexican food modern society. The Michoacan File explores the history of Mexican food, noting that for over 300 years Mexico was the place where European and Asian trade routes collide that worked together to create a tapestry of recipes, varieties, and flavors that continue to this day.
In 2010, UNESCO designated Mexican food as an "Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity," a declaration that, for the first time ever, announced a gastronomic culture was to be protected and elevated to the same level of art or science. Arsuaga explores the world of Mexican food in an entertainingly comprehensive way by talking to culinary experts, anthropologists, and a number of the globe's most acclaimed chefs. Clarifying and deconstructing what we understand about Mexican food, The Michoacan File may very well help us understand why it's such a beloved cuisine and why when we have Mexican food we inevitably ask ourselves "Is it authentic Mexican?"
The Michoacan File is effectively narrated by the equally beloved Danny Trejo, a nice touch that complements the film rather than dominating it. Quite honestly, I'm not sure you could tell it was Trejo unless you knew it up front - he's a fiercely engaging narrator but also makes sure the film's key players are the ones who really shine. While a good amount of the film is filled with interviews, rather than simply presenting talking heads Arsuaga and his team of cinematographers film in a variety of comfortable, appealing settings to give the film, I must say, a certain degree of spice. Those interviews include such noted chefs as Adrian Herrera, Rick Bayless, Albert Adria, and a host of others.
The Michoacan File is never less than entertaining, a low-demand film that informative and easy on the attention span. Still early in its festival run, The Michoacan File should know doubt continue its award-winning ways.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic