The gist of this lengthy (131 minutes) documentary on the state of the wine industry: Globalization is leading to an emphasis on new wines with hip brand names, and it's driving the older winemakers who favor slow processes and borderline-mystical attitudes toward the ability of wine to evoke its place of origin out of business. It's a familiar tale of the harsh, vulgarizing aspect of progress: the bottom-liners (like major player Robert Mondavi) versus the true believers. The problem with the movie is that it takes you into a very specialized world and doesn't give you enough guidance. The names pile up faster than they can be absorbed, and the point of it all becomes fuzzy at times. Director Jonathan Nossiter was behind the low-key existential suspense film Sunday, which makes Mondovino's flaccidity all the more surprising. It's informative but not very entertaining unless you stay up nights worrying about the globalization of the wine industry, that is.
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