Bitter Seeds: Monsanto's Legacy—Debt and Mass SuicidesSubmitted by legalizeliberty on Sat, 10/06/2012 - 21:59
Several years ago, I sat in a San Francisco screening room with other local film critics to watch China Blue, the second documentary in Micha X. Peled's ambitious Globalization Trilogy. China Blue shared the stories of several young men and women who had moved from rural villages to urban factories where they labored long hours producing blue jeans for US consumers. The film was by turns astonishing, amusing, and heartbreaking. At one point, I had to stumble from my seat and flee to the lobby to get a grip on my emotions.
Given the impact of China Blue, I was somewhat on edge as I prepared to view the final production in Bay Area filmmaker Peled's trilogy. Bitter Seeds, after all, promised an unstinting look at the mass suicides of Indian farmers.
The first surprise was the presentation. Bitter Seeds does not look like a documentary. It is exquisitely cinematic — shot like a movie, with an omnipresent lens that follows the protagonists through scenes that proceed as if envisioned on a storyboard. (When someone boards a bus, for example, we see them inside the bus, we see the bus from the outside as it rolls down a road, and we watch as they climb off the bus when it finally pulls over and parks.) It isn't until the first 20 minutes have passed that the first talking head interview pops up.
Multinational Marketing: Making a Killing
Early on, the film blackboards some essential announcements: "Half the world's population are farmers" and, in India, a quarter-million of these farmers have committed suicide in the past 16 years — one suicide every 80 minutes.