Planet in Focus 2013: No Land, No Food, No Life Review

No Land No Food No Life

No Land, No Food, No Life

Some documentaries guide, some illustrate, some shock, and others just tell you what’s going, and disappointingly No Land, No Food, No Life fits into that last category.

Shot in Mali, Cambodia and Kampala, Uganda, the film depicts large corporations (both foreign and local) swooping  in and seizing land from poor villagers who receive little to no compensation. This forces locals into relocatin, and at times, with no alternatives, working at bare minimum for the very people who expropriated their land. Once self-sufficient ,many are now forced into debt just to survive.

Writer, director, and researcher Amy Miller dumps an overwhelming amount of information, statistics, and facts on this phenomenon where rich agricultural conglomerates are exploiting third world countries.  Both sides of the issue are discussed, but the bias definitely leans towards the displaced landowners, giving them a bigger voice internationally. Despite Neve Campbell’s intermittent narration force-feeding us more facts, Sylvestre Guidi’s technically fine cinematography, and the ill-placed animated sequences used to transition to the next location, it feels rigidly and academically basic, not cinematic.  Most distressingly, despite meeting many people caught in the hostile takeovers, we don’t get enough time to develop feelings and empathy for anyone victim in particular.


No Land, No Food, No Life will leave you feeling somewhat humbled, but just trying to digest the bombardment of information in a little over an hour also leaves you with a headache. (Eric Marchen)


Friday, November 22nd, 6:30pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox