'Hidden Treasures,' 'Farmageddon' and 'Color Me Impressed' Playing Locally

Farmageddon: There is no freedom without raw milk. (promotional photo)

Hidden Treasures is a film that showcases some of the treasures within the national treasure that is the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Alexandra Isles, the maker of the film, together with Yale Kneeland, a former Objects Curator at the Met, will be on hand to introduce and answer questions about the film at a special screening.

The film features interviews with the Met staff, from curators to museum guards to custodians of special collections, talking about their favorite objects in the museum. The film promotes the museum as a carefully maintained space for personal enrichment as everyone can discover art works on their own terms. In his lecture before the film, Kneeland will discuss a sculpture from the Roman collection and the problems in authenticating an ancient work. The film also screens on the Sept. 17 at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m., included in museum admission.

If you want more ammunition for why Big Government is evil, an impersonal, power-mad imposition on positive American freedoms, see Farmageddon. Made by Kristin Canty of Massachusetts, a first-time filmmaker and a small-farm advocate, the film raises the banner for "food freedom," the ability — which the film claims is a "right" — to grow what we want to eat, to eat food however we want and to distribute what we grow to whoever wants it.

Canty's journey into the restrictions on these freedoms began when she realized that "raw," or unpasteurized, milk was the only kind her son could drink. She found, to her surprise, that the sale of such milk is illegal in some states, and buying it in one state and taking it to another was also against the law. Her investigations take her to several small farm holders who have experienced run-ins with the law, most of which could be described as harassment, even persecution: from the sheep-milking family who had all their livestock and other equipment seized in an outright duplicitous investigation of "mad cow" disease, to another family held at gunpoint by federal agents while their home and farm were ransacked, to a Mennonite farmer who was arrested and his products seized supposedly for failure to comply with citations. In the cases Canty documents there is zero accountability to the persons — oftentimes members of co-ops that try to claim "private" status to avoid regulations for the general public — who have their way of life placed under threat of government action, without any complaints from customers or any cause shown for the raids.

While the power of agencies like the FDA to do as it likes with private property is frightening in itself, the more thought-provoking aspect of the film is its questioning of where we get the food we eat. The many people in the film — from persons with special dietary needs, to restaurateurs who want to know where the food they serve people comes from, to organicists who are against chemicals in food or unnecessary processing, to folks who just want to buy something produced by someone they can chat with — speak out for what seem obvious American values and virtues: using your land to benefit your community, believing in the "natural" qualities of food produced without undue interference by industry or government.

If you were young in the '80s, you probably listened to The Replacements (or should have). The Whitney Humanities Center presents Color Me Obsessed a film about the ramshackle Minneapolis band, with Q&A with director (and New Haven local) Gorman Bechard.

Hidden Treasures

7 p.m. Sept. 16. Florence Griswold Museum, 96 Lyme St., Old Lyme, $5-$7. 860-434-5542, flogris.org.


Sept. 16. Real Art Ways, 56 Arbor St., Hartford. 860-232-1006, realartways.org.

Color Me Impressed

7 p.m., Sept. 17. Whitney Humanities Center, 53 Wall St., New Haven. Free. 203-432-0670, yale.edu/whc.