A series of evening film screenings held at the RAI continued the main themes explored in the RAI’s major ESRC Festival 2009 events: The Social Life of Plants and Exploring Food, Connecting Communities.


Uncle Poison (1998)

Ricardo Leizaola, 60 min

Filmed in the city of Caracas, capital of Venezuela, Uncle Poison is an intimate portrayal of a traditional faith healer, set against the backdrop of his community's Easter celebrations. Every day BenitoReyes receives people at his house looking for all sorts of cures. Through the personal testimony of the healer, this documentary looks at his role as a mediator between the social, natural and spiritual worlds. The screening was followed by a Q &A session with Ricardo Leizaola.  


Betelnut Bisnis (2004)

Chris Owen, 52 min

Betelnut is one of the most widely used narcotics in the world. Many families living in coastal areas of Papua New Guinea, where it is grown, have come to depend on betel nut for their livelihood (trading small quantities of the nut up form the coast to sell in their local markets) as well as feeding their addiction to the drug itself. For many, the betel nut trade is the only source of cash income to pay for basic needs such as food, school fees and medicine. This is a story of one such family -Lukas Kaima and his wife Kopu-as told by their friend and close neighbour, Chris Owen, an Australian expatriate.  Professor Eric Hirsch (Brunel University) lead a Q & A session after the film.

This study guide developed by Ronin Films is a great teaching and learning tool to accompany the film.


The Land on which we Stand (2007)

Rebecca Payne, 31 min

This film gives us a glimpse into the life of the Landmatters Co-operative, a community of 11 adults and 4 children living in benders and yurts in rural Devon as they develop a permaculture project. Although the group own the 42 acres of land, it was originally bought for agricultural purposes and they do not have planning permission to use it for residential purposes. The film follows the group as they fight for permission to live on the land in order to create a self reliant way of living that doesn't depend on fossil fuels.


No Such Thing as a Free Lunch (2008)

Tate LeFevre, 18 min

How can a radical activist movement based on limited participation in the capitalist system use the mainstream media to further its goals? This film follows members of the Freegan movement in New York City as they dumpster dive, cook feasts with salvaged food and give interview to Oprah-all while managing their own difficult relationship with the media and each other.


Take a look at our Food and Plants Connecting People through the Ages Exhibition from our exploring the archives series.