King Corn is a feature documentary about two friends, one acre of corn, and the subsidized crop that drives our fast-food nation. In King Corn, Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, best friends from ... See full summary »
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King Corn is a feature documentary about two friends, one acre of corn, and the subsidized crop that drives our fast-food nation. In King Corn, Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, best friends from college on the east coast, move to the heartland to learn where their food comes from. With the help of friendly neighbors, genetically modified seeds, and powerful herbicides, they plant and grow a bumper crop of America's most-productive, most-subsidized grain on one acre of Iowa soil. But when they try to follow their pile of corn into the food system, what they find raises troubling questions about how we eat-and how we farm Written by
It was already clear that when the time came to say goodbye to the corn from our acre, we would never know exactly where it would end up. After the crop is delivered to the elevator, following corn into the food system becomes a game of probability. Of the 10,000 pounds of corn our acre is likely to produce, 32% will be either exported or turned into Ethanol. In neither case ending up in our food. Or in our hair. But 490 pounds will become sweeteners, like high fructose corn syrup. And more ...
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Removing the dubious conclusion, the work is excellent
King Corn is an excellent documentary of the entire process of the corn kennel, from its genetic origin to its final use in food. The young protagonists start out from their worry that the junk food they eat will make them live less years than the previous generation and use this energy to investigate the main column of American food which is corn. As they decide to grow an acre of corn in IOWA, they interview people from all stages of the process and make sure that their work is not seen as a all-out criticism of corn. Reading between the lines, you can conclude that although the corn subsidies have made food much cheaper for Americans, it has also reduced its quality. Of course, you have to figure that out yourself since they don't propose a solution.
However, they interview enough people to allow you to think. For example, when talking to a farmer that operates a cattle feed lot in which cows are given antibiotics so they can process the excessive amounts of corn that will make them fat, the man replies bluntly: "yeah, we can have our cows eat grass, but that would make it more expensive".
They also give a primer on high-fructose corn syrup, the preferred sugar in the USA food industry. Heck, it's sugar. But since it's so cheap, tons of food products contain it.
King Corn is an excellent movie for those who don't understand farm subsidies and why they were put in the first place. It's also very balanced and does not cast any of the participants as evildoers. It's just the final (baseball) scene that lets in their youth idealism and pretty much disowns the extensive work they did for the past hours.
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