Yet another documentary about our screwed-up food-production system, Food Inc., takes a look at McDonald's immense impact on how food is produced and distributed. Back in the '50s, McDonald's adopted a factory mentality to food production, and distributors followed suit. Because the chain needed big suppliers who could keep up with demand, the little guy got shut out. Now, the top four beef makers control 80 percent of the market. "Even if you don't eat at a fast-food restaurant, you're now eating meat produced by that system," says Fast Food Nation author Eric Schlosser, one of several pundits interviewed in the film. The movie is almost relentless in delivering the bad news, but it also offers some hope: It profiles the growing Stonyfield Farms line of organic yogurt and milk products, and shows how even Walmart has begun stocking organic food and milk without growth hormones. See the movie at a free screening at 7 p.m. Saturday, February 13, at the West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church (20401 Hilliard Blvd., Rocky River, 440.333.2255, westshorefilmseries.wetpaint.com).
Jesuits in Film, a series devoted to films about the often-radical sect of Catholic priests, kicks off this week with a showing of 1971's Silence. Based on a Shusaku Endo novel, the movie is about the persecution of Jesuit missionaries in 17th-century Japan and follows two priests as they try to re-establish themselves on a small island. Jesuit historian Howard Gray, a teacher at Georgetown University, will introduce the movie, which screens at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, February 11, at the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque (11141 East Blvd., 216.421.7450, cia.edu/cinematheque). The rest of the series takes place at John Carroll University, where you can see other films with Jesuit connections like The Exorcist (February 15), Black Robe (February 22), On the Waterfront (March 15), Camilla (March 22) and Amen (April 12). Find more info at jcu.edu/suenens/jesuitfilms.htm.
The annual Sundance Film Festival just concluded, and Cleveland International Film Festival artistic director Bill Guentzler and Cleveland Cinemas CEO and CIFF founder Jon Foreman can give you the scoop on what hot indie films we're likely to see coming to town in the near future. Hear what they have to say at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, February 11, at Road to Sundance, a CIFF fundraising event. Tickets are $50. Call 216.623.FILM or go to clevelandfilm.org for more details, including location.