Hot off of his triumph at the Emmys for Going Clear, his striking documentary on the Church of Scientology, Alex Gibney is showing no signs of slowing down. His latest documentary, Zero Days, is getting ready to premiere at the Berlin Film Festival, which would be his official follow-up to Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine, his look at the problematic “genius” of the late Apple founder. Beyond that, he’s preparing for the debut of Cooked, his documentary series for Netflix which he’s centering around author Michael Pollan, who wrote the celebrated “Omnivore’s Dilemma.” The center of the film seems to be the origins of cooking and the idea of the meal, and the new trailer for the series suggests that Gibney and Pollan will also touch on the cultural and historical implications that come withe cuisine and the culinary arts. You can watch the trailer right below:
One thing that Gibney and Pollan seem to be specifically interested in is how the everyday art of preparing and cooking meals has been weeded out of the familial skill set. Rather than focusing on how cooking has become hip, and the new techniques that have come with this thrust into the American spotlight, their fascination seems to be with the intimacy of cooking, the most basic purposes of meal preparation. By extension, the director and his subject look to trace how hot food connects to ideas of generosity and love for family members, friends, and even strangers.
Depending on where Pollan and Gibney take this, Cooked could turn out to be the best reality-documentary series that Netflix has put its weight into, a philosophical consideration of something that feels almost inherently simple and yet is incredibly important to both our societal being and our ability to be close to others. And that’s ignoring how it figures into expressing one’s own cultural roots. We’ll see just how deep the filmmaker and his subject dive into these concepts on February 19th, when the series premieres on Netflix.