Jeremy Seifert, director of this feature documentary
The clever title says it all about Jeremy Seifert’s calculatingly funny and politically savvy take on Genetically Modified Organisms. Oh My God, indeed.
Like Michael Moore (Roger and Me, etc.) and Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me), Seifert decided to make a serious film while keeping his story lighthearted. The big question here is: what’s the future of food? Biodiversity has been sacrificed over the past quarter of a century by Monsanto and other giant agrochemical corporations that control the vast majority of the distribution and cultivation of seeds in North America and beyond. Using GMOs, Monsanto has created seeds that produce monolithically bland, less nutritious and potentially harmful plants and vegetation that dominate the marketplace.
Outraged, Seifert travelled across the U.S. with his two very cute sons and wife, ostensibly to confront Monsanto and their ilk while talking all the while to farmers and activists, who believe in seed diversity and organic farming. Inspired by his seed-loving youngest son, then six-years-old, who asks naïve yet profound questions, Seifert sets out to delineate the problem, from coast-to-coast.
While Seifert’s approach may dissatisfy profoundly sincere green activists and doc-lovers, his populism and sense of humour will undoubtedly raise the body count at cinemas across North America. And there is a method in the filmmaker’s method. The audience gets to see that GMOs have potentially disastrous effects on corn and soybeans—to name just two essential grains. They are shown that Monsanto is all about the greatest profitability for its corporate backers (of course!) as they use pesticides that will kill organic crops but are fine with the modified versions of crops that they’re creating.
Seifert’s film is full of fun and outrage—but also hope. In Iowa, there’s a Seed Savers Exchange that is maintaining classic older seeds that produce true organic crops. In side-trips, we’re taken to Haiti, where farmers fought Monsanto and even sang songs denouncing the bullying multinational. An amazing seed vault in Norway is shown.
Reviewed by Marc Glassman.