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More Than Honey (2012/2013)
Opened: 06/12/2013 Limited
|Film Forum/NYC||06/12/2013 - 06/25/2013||14 days|
|Kendall Square||07/05/2013 - 07/18/2013||14 days|
|Music Hall 3||08/09/2013 - 08/15/2013||7 days|
Trailer: Click for trailer
Genre: Documentary (German and English w/English subtitles)
Over the past 15 years, numerous colonies of bees have been decimated throughout the world, but the causes of this disaster remain unknown. Depending on the world region, 50% to 90% of all local bees have disappeared, and this epidemic is still spreading from beehive to beehive -- all over the planet. Everywhere, the same scenario is repeated: billions of bees leave their hives, never to return. No bodies are found in the immediate surroundings, and no visible predators can be located.
In the US, the latest estimates suggest that a total of 1.5 million (out of 2.4 million total beehives) have disappeared across 27 states. In Germany, according to the national beekeepers association, one fourth of all colonies have been destroyed, with losses reaching up to 80% on some farms. The same phenomenon has been observed in Switzerland, France, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Austria, Poland and England, where this syndrome has been nicknamed "the Mary Celeste Phenomenon", after a ship whose crew vanished in 1872.
Scientists have found a name for the phenomenon that matches its scale, "colony collapse disorder," and they have good reason to be worried: 80% of plant species require bees to be pollinated. Without bees, there is no pollinization, and fruits and vegetables could disappear from the face of the Earth. Apis mellifera (the honey bee), which appeared on Earth 60 million years before man and is as indispensable to the economy as it is to man's survival.
Should we blame pesticides or even medication used to combat them? Maybe look at parasites such as varroa mites? New viruses? Travelling stress? The multiplication of electromagnetic waves disturbing the magnetite nanoparticles found in the bees' abdomen? So far, it looks like a combination of all these agents has been responsible for the weakening of the bees' immune defenses.
Fifty years ago, Einstein had already insisted on the symbiotic relationship binding these pollen gatherers to mankind: "If bees were to disappear from the globe," he predicted, "mankind would only have four years left to live."
"[A] marvelous bee-centric documentary ...a delightful, informative, and suitably contemplative study of the bee world and the bee-population crisis" - Stephanie Zacharek, The Village Voice
"Spectacularly beautiful" - Stephen Holden, New York Times
"It's a vibrantly absorbing trove of information, revealing things like the "Waggle Dance," discovered by Nobel Prize winner Karl von Frisch, the ingenious figure-eight movement bees perform to impart information about the directions and distance to vegetative sources of pollen and water and also housing locations." -- David Noh, Film Journal
"Poses philosophical questions about the ways bees interact with humans ...a curious, audacious mix of personal essay film and nature documentary." - Drew Hunt, Slant
"Richly documented and lavishly photographed...Imhoof obtains stunning images of (bees) at work." - Dan Fainaru, Screen Daily
"Makes a convincing argument for the role of bees sustaining both organic and industrial concerns...(an) effective melding of science and aesthetic delights." - Eric Kohn, Indiewire
"A beautiful, globe-spanning documentary examining bees and their complicated, interdependent relationship with humans. If you are expecting some run-of-the-mill nature doc, think again. This is the CITIZEN KANE of bee documentaries." - Ain't It Cool News
My intention with MORE THAN HONEY was to allow the spectator to understand the drama at play and also, highlight the pressures of the global economy on these small insects. Their immense, hairy eyes, as well as their unique carapace, make them look like fascinating creatures that have come from another planet -- on the big screen, they appear as large as (and often largerer than) men.
In the struggle between bees and the neo-liberal market economy, bee brokers push beekeepers, who respond by pushing bees, to further increase their performance. Bees have become chain workers, a machine expected to function upon the simple push of a button.
In that sense, (and assuming the risk of sounding presumptuous), I could almost say that MORE THAN HONEY is a bit like Chaplin's "Modern Times" -- as told by bees.
-- Markus Imhoof