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Food Stamped is yet another documentary film in a series that attempts to direct attention to some aspect of the American food system. The focus of the film is fresh—the food stamp system, how much is allocated to low income families, and the challenge of eating healthy on small tab. Yet as if finding their focus too narrow, the filmmakers often drift away to other well-documented food issues of late, such as the school lunch program. Even the structure of the film follows a predictable narrative, introducing the problem with a series of news clips set to music followed by interviews with experts.
Perhaps the most interesting element of the film is when husband-and-wife filmmakers Shira and Yoav Potash chronicle their quest to eat healthy on a $50 per week food-stamp budget. The experiment is intriguing, especially as corn subsidies have kept junk food cheap while the price of healthy whole foods have continued to rise. It’s no surprise that obesity rates have risen in tandem. Shira, a nutritionist, is extremely saavy in the kitchen, managing to pull off delicious and healthy dishes like frittata with sweet potato and kale. But at only one week, the challenge proves underwhelming compared to the efforts of other self-experimenting filmmakers. After 30 days of eating McDonalds exclusively, Morgan Spurlock gained 25 pounds. While the Potashes are earnest and endearing, as an on-screen presence they lack the humor to carry a feature film. But if nothing else, this doc leaves you questioning the system and your own ability to keep your family healthy on an extreme food budget.
Screens tonight at 7 p.m. at GALA Hispanic Theatre, 3333 14th St. NW. $10.(202) 717-0700.