Red Obsession | Tribeca Film Festival 2013
Red Obsession follows the topsy-turvy world of wine. The film opens with an overview of wine production in Bordeaux, an all-too-famous region of France known for grand cru selections. Though, as viewers soon find out, these high priced bottles of wine are being uncorked in the most unusual place – the Far East.
Thanks to the accelerating economy in China, bitter grapes are in high demand. With the open doors of free trade in Shanghai and Hong Kong, inhabitants are finding wine is more than just tasty – it’s chic. As the film highlights, giving a bottle of wine is an indication of status, a key component of the hierarchy within Asian culture. In fact, this obsession leads one Japanese investor to tear down an ancient château in France, rebuild it brick-by-brick (including the vineyards) in his home country, and sell the wine to Chinese buyers.
Red Obsession is certainly less about taste and more about the bottle. The documentary focuses on the profitability of the grapes, framed around the 2009 financial crisis. Directed by the working duo of Warwick Ross and David Roach, this thesis on wine is surprising, since prior projects have been narrative based. Primarily in English, (despite the collection of subtitles), with narration by Russell Crowe, it’s obvious the film is hoping for international appeal.
With the crisp, romantic landscapes of France and China, Red Obsession is blessed with filmmakers who have an eye for aesthetics. Damp, clandestine wine cellars are juxtaposed with the crowded streets of Shanghai, the clashing of cultures highlighted throughout the film. In addition to the lush scenery, the film features a variety of interviews from vineyard workers in France, earnest Asian investors, and cross-culture connections.
Despite presenting a fount of information, Red Obsession is a glossy overview that could benefit from a longer running time.
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Watch the trailer for Red Obsession here: