Mondovino (2004)


Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB

Argentina/France/Italy/USA, 2004.  Diaphana Films, Goatworks Films, Les Films de la Croisade, Ricardo Preve Films.  Screenplay by Jonathan Nossiter.  Cinematography by Jonathan Nossiter.  Produced by , Jonathan Nossiter.  Film Editing by Jonathan Nossiter.  

Every time you pour a glass of wine, you are not just imbibing in one of humanity’s oldest forms of pleasurable relaxation, you’re actually involving yourself in an all-out global war that is being waged on vineyards across continents. The implications go beyond what even director Jonathan Nossiter can comprehend in this lengthy, weighty documentary that centres around the Mondavi family and their desire to take their Napa Valley empire to Europe, where they have been trying to buy up vineyards in Italy and France. Tradition is important to their targets, however, and there are families in Burgundy and Tuscany who are intent on keeping their lands to themselves while also having their own rivalries with those around them. From politicians and aristocracy all the way down to factory labourers, this expansive issue leaves no stone undisturbed.  Nossiter’s film is full of fascinating details and colourful personalities—just when you think you’ve met the most eccentric possible character another comes along—but where he falters is in compiling far too much information with far too little focus. It’s a lot to take in at 135 minutes, and I don’t blame him for wanting to include so much detail, but there’s a point where it starts to feel rambly and bloated (sort of like when you’ve had too much wine, really).

Cannes Film Festival:  In Competition

Toronto International Film Festival:  2004

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