• Review: Seed: the Untold Story (2016)

    From Mark R. Leeper@21:1/5 to All on Thu Sep 22 23:50:08 2016
    (a film review by Mark R. Leeper)

    CAPSULE: SEED: THE UNTOLD STORY educates the viewer
    about the importance of seeds to stave off famine.
    It foretells the coming seed crisis with the loss of
    biodiversity in our varieties of fruits and vegetables.
    There are serious threats to that biodiversity as
    mega-corporations genetically modify plants and are
    allowed to patent and own plant varieties. They are
    getting dangerous control of our food supply. Rating:
    low +2 (-4 to +4) or 7/10

    The international diversity of seeds almost by itself saves us from
    having famine. The Irish potato blight happened because the Irish
    depended so much on one variety of potato. When it was hit with
    fungus, the fields of potato essential to the local diet became
    useless mush. When the famine was over, there were two million
    people no longer there. In about even numbers a million had
    migrated to elsewhere and a million remained at home and died of
    starvation. There was just not another variety of potato to
    replace the one they had lost. Plant diversity is extremely
    important. Our modern society is also dependent on fewer and fewer
    varieties of plants. For each 25 varieties of vegetable seed alive
    at the beginning of the last century, only one is left alive. The
    multiplicity of vegetable varieties is being lost.

    SEED: THE UNTOLD STORY is a report on why the many vegetable seed
    varieties are so important to us and an account of the loss of
    diversity, who is working to save seed, and what threats are
    sweeping down on important crops from climate change, genetic
    modification, and the legal recognition of plant genetic
    modification and patenting. Mega-corporations like Bayer and
    Monsanto control the seed crop and pesticides required to be used
    with the genetically modified crops so that the source of seeds
    cannot be from the previous year's crop and has to be from the

    Perhaps the narrative could have used some fine-tuning. The
    filmmakers start with lore of the seeds and of seed culture. They
    seem overly concerned with creating a pretty film. and they wait
    too long to get to the most important message, (My wife was
    waiting to hear about the agricultural crisis, but when the on-
    screen experts started having people say that the seed is their
    grandfather she decided instead to go read.) Anthropomorphizing
    the spirit of the corn seems to me to be of less value than
    presenting a serious account of the problem. The film should
    earlier get to a serious and straightforward account of the danger
    to the food supply. The extent of the problem is discussed in
    interviews with scientists, farmers, native Americans, and even
    Jane Goodall. The film is directed by Jon Betz and Taggart Siegel, respectively the producer and director of QUEEN OF THE SUN: WHAT
    ARE THE BEES TELLING US? That is a beautiful and colorful film
    that also takes a while to get to its most important subject
    message. Betz and Siegel see a bleak future with no bees to
    pollinate plants and without necessary seed varieties.

    SEED includes accounts of Monsanto, these days a biotech company
    that is frequently in court as defendant or plaintiff against
    farmers. The film gives an account of one farmer who was sued by
    that company because his crop had been contaminated with a leak of
    Monsanto's genetically modified seed that had been made resistant
    to Monsanto's Roundup herbicide.

    SEED: THE UNTOLD STORY, once it gets to the point, certainly gives
    and effective case that we are losing control of food production
    around the world. The filmmakers make a case for how serious the
    threat is of corporations like Monsanto getting control of our
    crops. I rate SEED: THE UNTOLD STORY a low +2 on the -4 to +4
    scale or 7/10. SEED will open in New York on September 23 and Los
    Angeles on September 30.

    Film Credits:

    What others are saying: <https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/seed_the_untold_story>

    Mark R. Leeper
    Copyright 2016 Mark R. Leeper

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)