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“We are not vegans; they are carnists…”
This idea, expressed in the film by a vegan activist during a televised interview, is summative of the shift in the dominant ideology from carnism to veganism which Simon Amstell’s new mockumentary “Carnage” presents. The opening scenes of the film situate the viewer within a vegan idyll; it is 2067 and the general population is struggling to come to terms with its animal-eating past.
Whereas most films about veganism make for understandably uncomfortable viewing, “Carnage” is actually very funny. Vegans are gently mocked, being described as both “trailblazing heroes’ and “attention seeking loons”, and the film is full of memorable lines - #haveacracker, anyone? Amstell also asks the question as to “who wants to sit and watch an entire film about veganism”, and the subtle self-deprecation in film is something which is often missing within the vegan movement.
The clever use of both contemporary media & fictionalised footage to depict our current meat-eating culture is very well executed, with Amstell’s wry narration dismantling the most prevalent arguments for eating animal products and ultimately envisioning a move towards widespread veganism led by activists & artists and psychologists & politicians.
Yet amongst these moments of comedy a serious message is obviously being imparted. Glimpses of the abhorrent conditions on factory farms and flashes of floods around Britain remind the viewer of the film’s agenda and, without being at all sanctimonious, will surely provoke meat-eaters to reconsider their habits. Indeed for a relatively short 65 minute running time “Carnage” covers a wide range of issues; it touches upon the intersectionality of veganism and feminism, and explores how living within a capitalist hierarchy, with the Queen (‘just another animal’) ruling over her subjects, can produce a desire for superiority which manifests through killing animals for food.
The film features cameos from JME, Martin Freeman and Joanna Lumley amongst strong performances from the principal cast. It is encouraging that the BBC is producing such important content, and hopefully the film will be broadcast on television as well as iPlayer for maximum exposure. “Carnage” definitely succeeds with its combination of comedy and profundity, and we are accelerated towards a vegan world every time a film of such quality is released. We strongly recommend watching this brilliant mockumentary on BBC iPlayer if you haven’t already!
See some commentary of the film below.
Ciaran is a student based in Exeter, South West England who is interested in literature, music and veganism.
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