Two films from 2009 make good use of Andreas Gursky’s 1999 piece 99 Cent as inspiration: The Hurt Locker and documentary Food, Inc. I had seen both films in a relatively recent amount of time, so it was really interesting how the Gursky images translated to these stories.
In The Hurt Locker (and Kathryn Bigelow was a painter who was a Whitney Museum fellow, so you know she’s referencing this. You just know it.) Jeremy Renner’s character is in a Gursky landscape, lost in the supermarket, and it echoes how adrift he is in the world outside of dismantling bombs.
(Hey! Check out my awesome interview with The Hurt Locker’s screenwriter Mark Boal from last year. It’s a great piece, if I do say so myself.)
Food, Inc. is a film that shakes up your perception of the way that you eat, precisely due to the fact that it synthesizes arguments in Michael Pollan’s work and Fast Food Nation while also providing horrifying visuals and real-people testimony. (The wonderful Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms appears, and he is the only person I’ve ever seen who you can actually say, talks in all capitals with exclamation points at the end.)
It begins in a supermarket, the products swimming in a manic Gursky visual. Showing you, the viewer, that the supermarket is a place where human order is lost.
(I talked to Food, Inc, director Robert Kenner, as well! I suspect/am rooting for more than The Cove/ that Food, Inc. will be nominated for Best Documentary.)