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Crisp, amusing, and slightly aggressive, with a balanced attack and a strong finish

“If Alexander Payne’s great comedy Sideways whetted your appetite for the romance of wine and winemaking, Jonathan Nossiter’s documentary Mondovino provides a splash of reality as it plunges you into the special domain of multicultural conflict and commercialization in which the vintners grow their grapes and peddle their pinot noirs, champagnes and chardonnay.“Nossiter, an independent American filmmaker and sometime sommelier, shot this documentary guerilla-style with a minimal crew, going from country to country, vineyard to vineyard, to track the story of how wine is produced and marketed, how reputations are made and lost – and how, as in any industry, profits often collide with art and beauty. The conclusions he reaches might be controversial, but they’re honestly reached.“He’s obviously in favour of the old-time classical winemaking and small vintners, as represented by the great French vineyards in the south of France and new independent ones in Argentina, and he’s skeptical about the new companies, especially titan Robert Mondavi of California’s Napa Valley. If the deck seems stacked against the big wine companies, it’s not because of any voiceover commentary or Michael Moore-style joking. In Mondovino, we hear all sides.“If we’re dubious about anyone in the end, it may be two highly influential figures: American super-critic Robert Parker, whose ability to make reputations (and drive up sales) is examined, and Parker’s friend, wine consultant Michel Rolland, a leading adviser to numerous companies – to whom he offers essentially the same advice everywhere (helping, the film implies, lead to homogenization and standardization).“Mondovino is such a knowledgeable work and so pleasantly obsessed with its subject that it will interest even audiences whose attraction to wine is only casual. And it may, like Sideways, make you a little thirstier when it’s over.�– Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

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Directed by: 
Jonathan Nossiter
Running Time: 
Screenplay by: 
Jonathan Nossiter

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