|From O mineiro e o queijo|
Folha de S. Paulo during the week of the film's premiere, Ratton recalls childhood visits with his mother to dairy farms near his home. During these visits, sampling and buying cheeses with him mother, he learned to love cheese and to appreciate its infinite varieties. While filming his documentary, he revisited many farms in the same region and in other cheesemaking regions. He interviewed cheesemakers and dairy farmers, and the interviews make up the bulk of his film.
Ratton says that these cheesemakers consider themselves guardians of a way of making cheese that dates back hundreds of years and that many of them are afraid they will be be the last generation to know how to produce cheese the way it's always been done. One of the cheesemakers told him, "For me making cheese is an honor." In their desperation to access forbidden markets outside the state of Minas Gerais, some cheesemakers have gone underground and clandestinely carry their cheese to markets in other states.
When he was asked why he made the film Ratton replied that he wanted his film to inform and to incentivize the public. First, to inform the public what the situation is for these traditional cheesemakers and for their product, and second to ask the public to think whether the current situation is justified, and if it isn't to ask them what they might do to rectify it.
The situation of these cheesemakers in Minas Gerais is not unique to Brazil - the same restrictions on interstate and interprovincial shipment of raw milk cheeses exist in the USA and Canada, and there are restrictions and limitations in the EU as well. There is a legitimate health concern with the use of unpasteurized milk in any product, and therefore there is a legitimate government interest in protecting public health. But when laws are enacted that in truth merely protect the large agri-business dairy companies and their markets, what is lost is a decent livelihood for farmers and cheese producers as well as traditional, safe and delicious cheeses for consumers. This film highlights the problems in a fair and unpolemical way.