Release Date: September 14th, 2005 (NYC-Film Forum) by Cinema Libre Studio.
Directed by Deborah Koons Garcia.
BASIC PREMISE: A documentary about the lawsuits and health risks following the patent and use of genetically-modified (GM) products.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: This very well-structured documentary not only informs about also tell a few frighteningly true stories. One of the stories is that scientists are GM foods which companies then market without labeling them as genetically-engineered, despite their potential health risks. Another is that large company called Monsanto has a patent on the GM (or Roundup-Ready) seeds that it sells, so small farmers who accidentally grow their Roundup-Ready canola seeds because of cross-pollination, are being sued for all they got. Roundup is a pesticide that keeps insects away but, without the GM seeds, can be harmful to the seed. Garcia does a very good job of presenting each story with very simple, coherent explanatory visuals. There is no denying how powerful the technique of genetic modification is. It can create or destroy, but in most cases it destroys. What it destroys is diversity which is the natural effect of evolution without any outside control or, in this case, mutations. For example, there were once many different varieties of potatoes but now there are much less varieties. Another form of destruction is much scarier: the plants could develop a resistance to the pesticide because of how often it is sprayed and, therefore, attract insects that thrive on it. It would have been nice for Garcia to interview somebody from Monsanto to hear their side of the story. However, Garcia's side uses enough evidence and informative interviews that strengthens her argument. It is effectively engaging to hear the farmers directly and warmly discuss their own experiences with Monsanto's lawsuits.
SPIRITUAL VALUE:. When technology mixes with nature, the potential risks can be very hazardous without prudent research and development. It is obvious that many corporations mainly desire profit, but there is a larger theme going on here: genetically modifying DNA, they are "playing God". The real question is whether or not it is ethical to have a patent on a form of life? Unfortunately, since these patents are already going on, they could potentially lead to the patents of human life. There's also the issue of cloning, which is also a result of genetic modification. The best way to go is organic, but that is always more expensive and hard to find than non-organic. But those are subjects for another documentary.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: One sided argument, but it makes plenty of sense.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 1
THE BOTTOM LINE: A very easy-to-follow, provocative documentary that raises important issues about GM products and their consequences. If you go apple-picking after watching this film, you will probably think twice before picking that apple for the tree unless it's organic.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)
The "F" Menu