THE WORLD ACCORDING TO MONSANTO (Marie-Monique Robin). 109 minutes. Friday (May 30), 8 pm. Rating: NNNN
The National Film Board’s inaugural Green Screens series of eco-themed films concludes this weekend with a repeat screening of Marie-Monique Robin’s The World According To Monsanto, a horrifying doc that’ll literally turn your stomach.
A prizewinning French journalist and filmmaker, Robin approaches the GMO (genetically modified organism) giant from a modest perspective. She repeatedly Google searches the company, revealing the sinister corp’s historical connection to Agent Orange, PCBs and bovine growth hormone. And then she unearths the sinister way in which Monsanto, its Frankenfoods and herbicides have come to monopolize the production of the world’s food.
It’s an ambitious project that took several years to compile (there’s a book tie-in as well), but Robin makes a feisty, tireless investigator, travelling the world to check out pretty much everyone affected on the food chain, from the impoverished Indian farmer who killed himself by drinking a litre of pesticide to the Scottish scientist whose comments about the problematic effects of transgenic foods were swept under the table before he was let go by his university.
Throughout, Monsanto reps refuse to comment.
If there’s a downside to the doc (besides the occasional distracting dub into English), it’s the film’s despairing tone. What can we do? And more importantly: what in the world can we eat?