When it comes to religion and Epicureanism, the universal divider of the last two thousand years has been that mystical animal that is the humble barnyard pig. Whilst half the world delights in its salty flesh, the other half is repulsed by the idea, quoting the Torah or the Quran about the evils of eating schweinefleisch.
For ninety year old Razie, the ancient traditions of Judaism have, in the modern world, become somewhat redundant. For her birthday, she has decided to try bacon for the very first time.
In this short and sweet little documentary, Razie discusses her highly orthodox upbringing, telling us through a series of delightful illustrations of her family life and its deep connection with the local synagogue, with the wrath of the Rabbi always looming over any mischief she should get up to. Throughout her life, the rites and traditions of her childhood have remained an overwhelming presence. Since discovering the internet two years ago, however, Razie`s life has been turned upside-down.
Fascinated by “the Google” and its willingness to answer any question thrown at it, Razie feels more connected with the world around her than she ever did at the synagogue. She begins to find the concept of religion ridiculous as the web opens her eyes to the wider world.
Indeed, Bacon and God`s Wrath is a wonderfully philosophical piece, begging the question as to whether religion and faith are still possible in a world where every idea or opinion is picked apart by trolls and wannabe experts. Faith comes from an iron age or superstitions and magics; fear of the dark and what might lurk there. As Razie says, now we know better.
Indeed the scientific reasons for not eating pork in the ancient Middle East are very reasonable; before refrigeration, pork was very difficult to keep, turning quickly and thus inevitably causing terrible food poisoning. Nowadays, this is no longer an issue, yet millions of people the world over maintain the age old traditions.
And so Razie decides to try her bacon. She seems relieved at first not to have been stricken down by the arm of the Lord, and yet somewhat underwhelmed by the final outcome. A real feeling of “all that fuss over nothing”.
Razie herself is a charming and open narrator, proud of her heritage, but determined to open herself up to the modern world. Her mix of cynicism and underlying fear is wonderful to watch, and her easy-going reaction to her mission will raise a smile in even the most cynical viewer. Bacon and God`s Wrath is a thought-provoking and life-affirming documentary which should not be missed.
4 / 5
Dir: Sol Friedman
Starring: Razie Brownstone
Prd: Sol Friedman, Sarah Clifford-Rashotte
Music: Joseph Murray, Lodewijk Vos
Run time: 8mins