Indian cotton pickers suffer in The World According To Monsanto.
THE WORLD ACCORDING TO MONSANTO (Marie-Monique Robin). 108 minutes. Some subtitles. Opens Friday (August 1) at the Royal. See Indie & Rep listings. Rating: NNNN
Marie-Monique Robin's The World According To Monsanto could literally turn your stomach.
A prizewinning French journalist and filmmaker, Robin approaches the GMO (genetically modified organism) giant from a deceptively 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 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 in the food chain, from the impoverished Indian farmer who killed himself by drinking a litre of pesticide to the 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 the doc has a weakness (besides the occasional distracting dub into English), it's the film's despairing tone. What can we do? And more immediately: what in the world can we eat?