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This past Sunday I spent the afternoon at the Delaware Art Museum. To my surprised, there was a Taiwan Film Festival occurring during my visit. Two films were playing: “Birds Without Borders: Black-Faced Spoonbills,” and “My Fancy High Heels.” I was only able to view the second film, “My Fancy High Heels.” So, what does this film have to do with being vegan or animal rights? Check out the trailer here:

Here’s a summary from the film’s website:

Filmed over a period of two years, this documentary traces the footsteps of a pair of name-brand high-heeled shoes, from the border of China and Russia to the streets of Manhattan, from an impoverished farm town and the sanguinary spectacle of slaughtered cows and skinned hides, to the fashionable, prosperous metropolis. In the spring, the hide of the calves have just been skinned, and the woman assembly-line worker meticulously touches up every last detail of the shoes. By winter of the same year, those tiny details can be seen on the feet of a fashionable woman in New York City.

My take on the film:

Since I probably saw this film with no other vegans in the room, it was interesting to see and hear the effect the film had on people as they watched. A lot of the attendees were horrified at the sight of seeing cows slaughtered. The sequence of the film showed  the finished product and backtracked the entire process to the slaughter of cows for their skins. I liked how one could see that life is easy and good for the designer high heel wearing Manhattan clothing designer and gradually gets worse and harder as the film goes backtracks the production line. At the end of the line, life is meaningless, shown by newborn calves being slaughtered moments after birth for their “high quality” skins. The film was also shot without commentary. It was strictly scenes told by the people who live them.

One aspect of the film I would caution is that the film didn’t go into any other aspects of human rights or animal rights. I don’t think that was the purpose of the film, but by hearing the responses by viewers, I don’t think they really understood the whole picture. “I’ll never buy another pair of high heels,” was the typical response. They didn’t connect that this happens in all aspects of animal agriculture. Also, one other response I heard and should be cautioned is the idea that this only happens in China or that “The Chinese are so inhumane.” This has nothing to do with the culture and it happens in all cultures in the same, if not worse, ways.

I think this film is a good watch and I think it’s definitely something to show to vegetarian friends or others who still wear animal skins.

To find our more information about the Taiwan Film Festival including upcoming shows, click here.

To visit the “My Fancy High Heels” website, click here.

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