Natural Resistance, a documentary showcasing the ways that rapid changes in society have influenced the wine industry, follows Italian winegrowers as they fight for natural, sustainable winemaking on a daily basis.
What makes the film so great is the diversity of its characters, each representing different types of winemakers. Firstly, there is Stefano Belloti, a controversial radical farmer-poet, who changes the long-established farming rules from his avant garde property in the Piedmont. Then there is Giovanna Tiezzi, living in a converted 11th century monastery, and Elena Pantaleoni, who takes care of her father’s vineyards. Lastly, Corrado Dottori inherited his grandfather’s farmstead and tends to it as an expression of agricultural social justice. Coming from diverse backgrounds, what connects all these very different people is their passion for agriculture and sustainable living. As these winegrowers fight to produce natural wine, they encounter great resistance from everywhere, as the rapidly growing economic interests in the world try to collapse the spread of their revolution.
Although Natural Resistance is a documentary, it is made in a refreshing way, focusing more on its characters than on specific scientific data. The film does not consist of numerous clips of the Italian winemakers talking seriously in front of the camera, using complicated agricultural terms that no one out of this area of expertise would understand. On the contrary, a great deal of their opinions are shared around the table, whilst sipping this same wine they talk passionately about, laughing and poking fun of each other in a way that only people who deeply understand one another do. The natural dynamic between them allows the viewer to connect with them too, as this informal style of storytelling works a treat. Filmmaker Jonathan Nossiter instantly makes the audience care about their faith, wellbeing and the future of their farms, as Natural Resistance is above all quirky, thought-provoking and funny – ultimately intensely humane.
The documentary also often cuts off to clips from old films like Charlie Chaplin’s Gold Rush or even to one of Mussolini’s infamous speeches. This ties the whole feature together and shows on a grander scale the cultural implications that have shaped Italian society for decades. Finally, the viewer cannot help but hope that those people will manage to change the wine industry for the better and keep to their ecological, sustainable winemaking despite the fierce resistance they are facing.
Natural Resistance is released nationwide on 19th June 2015.
Watch the trailer for Natural Resistance here: