King Corn (Green Packaging)
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KING CORN is a fun and crusading journey into the digestive tract of our fast food nation where one ultra-industrial, pesticide-laden, heavily-subsidized commodity dominates the food pyramid from top to bottom corn. Fueled by curiosity and a dash of naivete, college buddies Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis return to their ancestral home of Greene, Iowa to figure out how a modest kernel conquered America.
With the help of some real farmers, oodles of fertilizer and government aide, and some genetically modified seeds, the friends manage to grow one acre of corn. Along the way, they unlock the hilarious absurdities and scary but hidden truths about America s modern food system in this engrossing and eye-opening documentary.
A graceful and frequently humorous film that captures the idiosyncrasies of its characters and never hectors (Salon), KING CORN shows how and why whenever you eat a hamburger or drink a soda, you re really consuming ... corn.
Picking up where Super Size Me left off, King Corn examines America's health woes through the multifaceted lens of one humble grain. Director Aaron Woolf and co-writers Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis offer irrefutable proof that the US is virtually drowning in the stuff. Corn meal, corn starch, hydrologized corn protein, and high fructose corn syrup fuel a multitude of products, from soft drinks to hamburgers. The starchy vegetable grows with ease and government subsidies insure over-abundant production. Woolf documents the 11-month effort of college friends Cheney and Ellis, who trace their ancestry to the same small Iowa town, to raise their own crop. After finding a farmer willing to lend them an acre, they meet with agronomists, historians, and other experts before plowing, seeding, and spraying. Prior to harvesting, the easygoing Yale grads travel to Colorado to compare the grass-fed cattle of yore with today's corn-fed counterparts; then to New York to explore the links between corn syrup, obesity, and diabetes. With assistance from author Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma), a whimsical score, and stop-motion animation--farm toys and corn kernels--Woolf and associates bring biochemistry to vivid life. On a micro level, this genial eye-opener celebrates friends and farmers; on a macro level, King Corn bemoans the subsidies and genetic modifications that have turned a formerly protein-filled product into the fatty "yellow dent no. 2." Bonus features include a music video, photo gallery, and "The Lost Basement Lectures," an amusingly fake instructional movie about the aims of agriculture. --Kathleen C. FennessySee all Editorial Reviews
- Deleted scenes:
- -Chicago: Hauling the Harvest to the Board of Trade
- -Washington DC: Talking Corn on Capitol Hill
- -Boston: A New Boston Tea Party
- The King Corn in the Corn Belt Tour
- The Lost Basement Lectures
- WoWz music video
- Photo gallery
- Filmmaker biographies
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Top customer reviews
What is truly saddening is that we as a nation are beyond the point of No Return as far as our being tied to King Corn is concerned. In some way we are different, and at the same time, similar to the cows in the feed lots: we eagerly consume the corn by-products placed in front of us as "food". The difference is we know or can be taught that we are digging our own graves through our diet and eating habits -but collectively take no corrective actions. The livestock have no knowledge of their impending doom by slaughter. Our and death of the livestock benefitting the conglomerates of food manufacturers in America. Very insightful documentary.
In addition to documenting their farming experiment, the filmmakers visited a massive cattle feedlot in Colorado. It brought to mind another movie that explores our meat industry Fast Food Nation. As the meat industry, like the cigarette industry, increases their global marketing, ever increasing amounts of grain are being used to feed cattle; along with creating fuels. Amazingly, some crops are being genetically modified to produce pharmaceuticals Transgenic Plants: A Production System for Industrial and Pharmaceutical Proteins.
With growing food crises around the world, one wonders when we'll reach a tipping point and decide to create a food system that serves people instead of serving the interests of executives at Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland Rats in the Grain: The Dirty Tricks and Trials of Archer Daniels Midland, the Supermarket to the World. Thinkers like Frances Moore Lappe have long argued that the real issue behind a lack of food security is not a lack of food, but rather a lack of democracy World Hunger: Twelve Myths. We need to dethrone 'Kings' of corn and many other commodities and put decision making power into the hands of civil society, as Vandana Shiva has advocated for so eloquently Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace. See some of Shiva's presentations on YouTube, she's a modern-day Gandhi.
A couple other resources to help us create a sustainable, organic, biodiverse, and localized food system:
Good Growing: Why Organic Farming Works (Our Sustainable Future)
Micro Eco-Farming: Prospering from Backyard to Small Acreage in Partnership with the Earth
Slow Food Nation: Why Our Food Should Be Good, Clean, And Fair
Mother Earth News
How to Save the World
King Corn is about two friends who decide to grow corn on an acre of land in Iowa to learn more about how our food system works. They spend a year going through the full growing cycle as well as following where that corn goes (or is likely to go) in the food chain. In their quietly understated way, they tell a story that is disturbing and in the end really grabs you. At least it did me, and I already knew this stuff. Somehow seeing it in the documentary format made it really hit home.
This is well worth the price and the 90 minute running time. It will give you new insight into what you are eating, and is something you'll want to share with friends.