SIMON AMSTELL — CARNAGE: SWALLOWING THE PAST

Simon Amstell Carnage Film

Most of my adult life I’ve battled with the ideals of cutting meat from my diet completely. I’ve gone for days, weeks, month after month consuming only vegetarian or vegan foods but I sit here today as a meat-eater or a ‘carnist’ if you will because (a) willpower isn’t something I seem to possess (b) everybody seems to want to poke holes or question you or mock you if you decide to do something ‘against the norm’ (c) veganism still isn’t particularly convenient is it? “Oh, don’t mind her, Lucy’s just trying to be vegan again, don’t worry it won’t last long…” Fair play to them, I always give in to temptation. I think the longest stint I ever did was broken when my new boyfriend cooked a double cheeseburger pizza for our first date. Nearly 9 years on and I quickly forgave the bearded man to my right, luckily for him!

Today I watched Simon Amstell’s Carnage on BBC iPlayer. It’s something I’ve been trying to squeeze in since its release a couple of weeks ago and I was lucky enough to find myself with some free time this evening (this hardly ever happens!)

It isn’t full of bloody, graphic clips showing you the things you like to pretend don’t happen beneath the hood of the meat and dairy industries. It isn’t preachy. It isn’t trying to convince you to change your ways or come away from the screen donning vegan pin badges and shouting ‘meat is murder’ outside McDonalds. However, I challenge you to watch the 65 minute-long film without questioning the way our society works or wondering whether you’re entirely happy about how your dinner ended up on your plate or how the milk in your cereal was produced.

With large sections of the film made up of real footage you’ll probably remember seeing on the telly yourself at some stage (everything from our beloved celebrity chefs to news reports and historical snippets) it’s almost documentary in a way with the narration merely quipping at the way our society currently operates. Infact it borders on black comedy but perhaps it’s too dark to be considered such as the subject is clearly no laughing matter as we’re reminded with the more sombre clips weaved inbetween the mocking tones aimed at both meat-eaters and vegans alike. Whilst the film is obviously pro-vegan, it leaves you to come to your own conclusion.

I won’t ruin it for you but it’s certainly an eye-opener and an interesting watch whatever your personal views may be. Set in 2067, where everybody now follows a strict vegan lifestyle and the horrors of our carnivorous past is too much to bear, it takes a look back at the factual and fictitious events that lead up to such a colossal turnaround in how we, as humans, view and respect the animals we share this world with.

I’m left wondering if a shift in our human attitude is truly possible and what we can expect, in reality, as consequences of our current industrial farming practices?

According to chortle.co.uk, the film was commissioned by Victoria Jaye, the head of content for BBC iPlayer, who said ‘In a culture obsessed by what’s on our plates, Carnage imaginatively challenges our attitude towards eating meat, fish and cheese triangles. Prepare to never look at your dinner the same way again.’ 

Well, it certainly delivered.

For a full rundown of what to expect, aspiring journalist Fran Carruthers has written a promising overview of the film for the Huff Post which I think will only convince you further that it’s one to add to your watch list this week. Hats off to Simon Amstell, the film really is genius and has a sort of ‘Black Mirror’ feel to the way it’s conveyed.

Have you seen Carnage yet? How did it affect you?

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