Director: Frederick Wiseman
Frederick Wiseman's documentary, Welfare, was screened at last year's Melbourne Film Festival, Meat is his ninth film, a study of one of America's largest meat processing works It is located in Greeley. Colorado, and Wiseman takes stock of cattle auctions, feeding and maintenance of animals, storage and packing of meat, the union arrangements, and marketing processes. The film follows the path of the product from grazing cattle dotted about the fields to stacks of hamburger patties.
Wiseman shows in graphic detail, the procession of cattle herded with electric prods towards the slaughterhouse. Each steer is injected and falls heavily to the ground; a chain is wrapped about the hind leg and the beast is moved off through a succession of bloody chambers. But these scenes are filmed in a formal black and white design that distances the horror from the audience.
James Woolcott has commented about the film that, 'as in all his documentaries, the shock is in discovering how little one knows about the institutions that hold sway over our lives'.