Wednesday, March 18, 2009

i cried for the bees

Not one for insects, flying or otherwise, The Last Beekeeper seemed like a filler movie to me when i walked into the theater. HA! not so! It's a film about the flailing beekeeping industry and its impact on almond production in the United States. But the most stirring images in the film are the ones of dying bees. The fall, their teensy little legs shake and stretch, they rub their eyes. The true stars of the movies are the bees with the three beekeepers who are being followed as supporting actors. 

The story jumps between the three beekeepers easily but spends a bit too long on the most annoying one, a pitiful redheaded man. The least like-able of the three, an obsessive beekeeper who calls his partner replaceable, gets the least camera time, of which I was grateful. The director definitely chose interesting characters to follow even though only one drew any sympathy from me. The other two were harder to identify with, making their hive troubles less impacting on my feelings. The bees on the other hand literally caught the audiences' hearts. There were multiple moans during the shots of dying bees and empty hives. I really did cry.

I think the movie is well worth seeing. My only complaint is that it didn't get more in depth with the reasons why bees are disappearing in the US. There were some scary statistics, but a lack of scientific reasons for the populations' disappearances. It should be noted though that I'm a huge fan of scientists, researchers, etc. in documentaries and always enjoy hearing why they think things are happening the way they are. This story follows mostly the characters while intertwining them with the story of the devastation of the American bee populations in general. The director creates a really captivating and heart-wrenching film about something most people know nothing about. For that reason alone I recommend this film to everyone but it also has beautiful cinematography, funny parts, and stays interesting by moving at a good pace. 

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