Sunday, November 15, 2009

Movie Review: King Corn

King Corn is a documentary film released in 2007 that looks at the role of corn both as North America's primary food staple, as well as North America's most beloved crop. (photo credit; film website).  The film centers on Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, two friends who move to a small farming community in Iowa, where they plant an acre of corn and experience the joys of being farmers.In the process of becoming farmers, Cheney and Ellis discover the wonders of government assistance to farmers; the severe cold of Iowa winters; the incredible overproduction that is encouraged thanks to Earl Butz; the findings of Michael Pollan; as well as some lovely facts about "corn-fed" cattle; and how human hair can mirror the composition of one's diet.  There are some highly disturbing scenes; some content may seriously make you reconsider the choices you make with respect to your diet. Oh, i almost forgot: Audra Erickson, Patron Saint of HFCS, is also featured prominently in this film. She earnestly and fervently promotes HFCS in interviews conducted with Cheney and Ellis. (sorry, i can't help it.... she seems positively stepford...)
The film is both funny and quirky; it is somewhat languid at times, but that is somehow appropriate.  Unlike some of the other documentaries coming out these days, King Corn is less diatribe and more exploratory. It is a thought-provoking and even disturbing look at the centrality of corn in the U.S.

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