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The Green Life: Movie Review Friday: Queen of the Sun

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May 06, 2011

Movie Review Friday: Queen of the Sun

Escape to the movies with one of our Movie Review Friday selections. Each week we review a film or television event with an environmental theme. Seen a good eco-flick lately? Send us a short review and look for it in the next Movie Review Friday.

Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us? (2010)

In theaters now

For a film about flowers, sunshine, and honey, Queen of the Sun can feel strangely horrific.  The documentary has plenty of enchanting scenes — a quirky French beekeeper brushing his fluffy moustache over a bunch of bees and exclaiming, "They like, they like!" is particularly charming — but the realities of commercial beekeeping, in which bee hives are wrapped in plastic, loaded onto tractor trailers, trucked across the country, and then fed high fructose corn syrup, are unsettling, to say the least.  

The buzz on bees, of course, is colony collapse disorder, which this movie investigates through interviews with beekeepers, biologists, entomologists, authors, and philosophers. A variety of possible causes are examined, including monoculture, pesticides, and GMOs, but one gets the sense that the bees' suffering can't, and shouldn't, be traced to just one ill. Biodynamic farming is posited as one possible route to bee health. Urban beekeeping is also covered.

Director Taggart Siegel's well-crafted documentary may shock those viewers who associate beekeeping with idyllic pastoral scenes, but in the end, the most striking and hopeful elements of the film are the dedicated beekeepers who are tirelessly tending their bees, constantly fighting colony collapse. As one beekeeper says, "I would have hope to the very last day." In the end, this is a love story.

--Della Watson

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