88 minutes • 2011 • USA • In English • Unrated
Bitter Seeds explores the future of how we grow things, weighing in on the worldwide debate over the changes created by industrial agriculture. Companies like the U.S.-based Monsanto claim that their genetically modified (GM) seeds offer the most effective solution to feeding the world’s growing population, but on the ground, many small-scale farmers are losing their land. Nowhere is the situation more desperate than in India, where an epidemic of farmer suicides has claimed over a quarter million lives. Every 30 minutes one farmer in India, deep in debt and unable to provide for his family, commits suicide.
Bitter Seeds follows a season in a village at the epicenter of the crisis, from sowing to harvest. Like most of his neighbors, cotton-farmer Ram Krishna must borrow heavily in order to afford the mounting costs of modern farming. Required by a money-lender to put up his land as collateral, he gambles on everything he has. (re-posted from Pickford schedule)
Official Website of Bitter Seeds
Bitter Seeds (NR)
Rounding out his “Globalization Trilogy” with another affecting, character-driven portrait designed to indict corporate opportunism, Micha X. Peled exposes the issues underlying a rash of farmer suicides in “Bitter Seeds.” Focusing on a small agrarian community in central India — a country where a quarter million farmers have taken own their lives in the last 16 years — Peled follows a hopeful young woman, Manjusha Amberwar, studying to be a journalist so she can help put a stop to the trend that claimed her father and now threatens her uncle. His emotional, gripping doc should sprout awareness in public-broadcasting and educational quarters.
Like a mellower, more narratively inclined version of activist helmer Robert Greenwald, Peled has previously taken on Wal-Mart (“Store Wars”) and overseas sweatshops (“China Blue”) by profiling the people most affected by mega-companies’ profit-driven agendas. In “Bitter Seeds,” he implicates U.S.-based biotech monolith Monsanto (makers of DDT and Agent Orange, per one of the pic’s slides) in the Indian farmers’ deaths, but does so through a story compelling enough to support a scripted drama.”
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