"a far more compact beast, opting to focus more solely on the individual rather than globally"

The closest most people can come to calling themselves a wine expert is probably imitating the way that Hannibal Lector appreciates and savours all its aromas and flavours, as seen on the critically acclaimed NBC/Sky Living show, Hannibal. Or courtesy of the one-thousandth re-watch of the equally acclaimed and equally wine-centered movie, Sideways. Unless, of course, your name is Jonathan Nossiter...

In parallel to being a film-maker, he is a trained sommelier who has shared his wisdom and experience in restaurants around the world. Not to mention brought the art of wine-making to the fore, with the critically acclaimed and Palme d'Or nominated documentary, Mondovino, which sought to reveal the impact of globalisation on the world's different wine regions.

In other words, he is far from what anybody could consider a layman.

Ten years later, with as much passion as before, his new film, Natural Resistance, follows four Italian winegrowers who live the life we all dream of. Each of these farmers have encountered a fierce resistance as they struggle to make their dreams of a natural, sustainable, and ecologically just wine-making industry a reality. Giovanna Tiezzi lives in a converted 11th century monastery, and grow grains, fruit, and wine in a way that links to their ancient heritage.

Corrado Dottori is a refugee from industrial Milan, who inherited his grandfather's farmstead and tends to it as an expression of agricultural social justice. Elena Pantaleoni works her father's vineyards and strives to create a utopian reality. Finally, Stefano Belloti, the controversial radical farmer poet, disrupts the long established rules of farming from his avant-garde property in the Piedmont. But these natural winemakers stand up against the "New World Economic Order" to offer a model of charmed and joyous resistance, hoping to stir the hidden rebel in all of us.

Slipping just shy of the ninety-minute mark, Natural Resistance is a far more compact beast, opting to focus more solely on the individual rather than globally. Taking the majority of the responsibility upon himself, including operating a handheld camera, and with few in the way of technical flourishes, Jonathon Nossiter has created a film that feels personal and intimate in a way that so few are in this day and age. What the audience receives can essentially be described as little more than beautiful, serene images of various Italian vineyards and a collection of conversations.

That is where, unfortunately, the film falters as well as flies. Though already compact, it could have actually benefited from a stricter editing process and a keener eye on the narrative flow. There is a message at the core than serves as both the connective tissue and the driving force, but there is little variety in the ways it can be expressed before it becomes repetitive. Frustratingly, that moment emerges only a little way into the run-time.

Nossiter does his best to combat this, making wonderful use of footage from vintage films, no doubt drawing a parallel between the way the corporations hinder the homegrown farmers and the effect Hollywood is increasingly having on independent filmmakers and their work. But whilst it serves to expand the scope of his ideals and make it relatable to a wider audience, it also has the unmistakable aura of padding added in order to turn something that could have been expressed in a video-blog or podcast into a film for no other reason than to be a film.

That being said, even repetition isn't enough to reduce the importance and the impact of the message. The concepts of environmentalism and revolution are firmly taking hold of the social consciousness of late. And they are keenly felt throughout the film, not to mention pursued with passion, humour and sincerity, leaving it almost impossible to walk away without pondering the state of life and the world, the potential for change, and wanting a sip of something red or white.