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USA, 1976 (MIFF 1977)

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'.

See also...


Welfare is the ninth in a series of documentary films about American institutions by Frederick Wiseman. His films since 1967 include studies of the law, the medical profession, schools, the military ... More »


For the past 35 years, Frederick Wiseman has meticulously documented a unique and penetrating view of American social relations and the institutions that try to mediate them. In Domestic Violence ... More »


Frederick Wiseman's latest work in an extraordinary succession of fifteen documentaries on the American way of life turns its pitiless glare away from institutional "casualties peace" to concentrate ... More »


Iconic documentarian Frederick Wiseman (La Danse, MIFF 2010; Titicut Follies) returns with a fascinating look at the tight-knit world of a suburban boxing gym. ... Battered equipment is held together ... More »


"The world of reality television wouldn't exist without Frederick Wiseman's lingering examinations of fragments of society. And those who've grown up watching such programs should look at this film ... More »


... ... Veteran documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman turns his rigorous gaze on the cultural institution of classical dance in Ballet, an epic account of days and nights with the premier US ... More »

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