Queen of the Sun Film Review

by Amber on November 18, 2011

Did you know that bees are responsible for 4 of every 10 bites of food we eat? These fuzzy creatures keep us alive. Yet, their own survival is at risk largely due to human activity.

Honey bees like this one play the starring role in documentary film Queen of the Sun.

In the documentary film Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?, director Taggart Siegel explores the precarious world of the bees through interviews with beekeepers and global experts, helping unravel the multiple factors behind bee colony collapse. Best-selling author Michael Pollan and Gunther Hauk, beekeeper and founder of the world’s first formal bee sanctuary, are two of the featured authorities playing supportive roles to the film’s lead characters: the bees.

The film sets a magical tone: graceful, sweeping fields of color and flower, close-ups of dancing bees collecting nectar on tufts of yellow, purple, or red. The viewer feels at once connected to the life cycle of these harmonious creatures in what Roger Ebert describes as “A remarkable documentary that’s also one of the most beautiful nature films I’ve seen.”

The grace and harmony strikingly oppose the ominous “insect deserts”—fields of mono-crops (such as almonds or soy) that stretch for miles and offer no year-round habitat to sustain the bees. The film reveals this—and many other—problems of modern agriculture that threaten the future health of honey bees.

Pesticides, parasites, queen breeding, and genetically modified crops are just a few of the culprits described in the disappearance of the world’s bees.

Yet, the film poetically and brilliantly balances the sense of urgency with hope and inspiration. No viewer is safe from the allure the film exudes for the life of a biodynamic beekeeper. Each featured bee owner is pictured cooing lovingly about their brood. One beekeeper even brushes his mustache across his bee hive, “petting” his bees! These delightful displays build respect, even passion, for bees as the film progresses.

Queen of the Bees has earned nearly a dozen awards, including Official Selection at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, Winner at the Syracuse Film Festival, and Winner at the Nashville Film Festival. The Seattle Times appropriately describes the film as “an irresistible romance.”

The film is being debuted in Sacramento as part of the Rudolf Steiner College Food Rights Film Festival this Sunday, November 20 at 9:00 AM. The cost is $14. Other films include Farmageddon, My Father’s Garden, King Corn, and several others.

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