Isn't it about time we gave Michael Pollan his own food-and-health TV channel? Seriously, he's in every food documentary out there: Food Fight, Food, Inc. . . . and now this film about bees suffering from colony collapse disorder (CCD). It's a subject he and other journalists have covered extensively, and if you can get past the New Age tendencies of Queen of the Sun, it succinctly lays out the causes of our present beepocalypse. Recite after me, class: industrial food production, loss of genetic diversity, pesticides instead of organic farming, and the demise of local agriculture. (Today, bees are trucked around the country, never getting a chance to recover from their labors in a local habitat.) "We depend on [bees] to pollinate 40 percent of our food," says Pollan. "Monoculture is the original sin of agriculture." All of which is both alarming and, from his mouth, persuasive. But director Taggart Siegel pushes things further, making bees the metaphor for our whole ailing planet and letting dubious holistic sources praise the "magical properties" of honey. We should live cooperatively like the bees, says another guy: "It's not about getting ahead." (Which sounds dangerously close to socialism!) More effective are little profiles of "biodynamic farming" and rooftop beekeepers in London and New York, who tend their hives like backyard chickens. Though in New York, such apiary activity isn't technically legal. Yo, it's outlaw!
Hasn't she seen Nicolas Cage in The Wicker Man? Those bees are dangerous!
Runs at Northwest Film Forum, Fri., March 4–Thurs., March 10. Not rated. 82 minutes.