Caviar Dreams: The Most Decadent Documentary Ever Made

15 min. Brian Gersten & others, dist. by Video Project, www.videoproject.com. 2018. DVD $69; acad. libs. $149; DVD/DSL $249. Public performance. COOKING
Caviar is commonly understood to be the pinnacle of luxury, rare and expensive. Given that, it's interesting to learn from this short documentary that, like lobster, caviar was once food left for the poor. Growing demand for the eggs endangered sturgeon in the wild, and the industry increasingly harvested roe from farmed fish instead. The film pulls no punches in showing how caviar is collected, a scene not for the squeamish. Still, there is humor and charm here, for instance, when children taste caviar on a cracker, reacting not always favorably. Incorporating archival footage and including commentary from a smart array of enthusiasts and purveyors, Caviar Dreams is well made. Its downfall is its brevity. Clocking in at only 15 minutes, the film leaves viewers wishing that there was more to come, some further exploration beyond a focus mostly on the sustainability of producing this delicacy.
VERDICT An optional purchase.
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