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The Botany of Desire (2009)

TV Movie  -   -  Documentary  -  28 October 2009 (USA)
7.6
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Michael Pollan, a professor of journalism and a student of food, presents the history of four plants, each of which found a way to make itself essential to humans, thus ensuring widespread ... See full summary »

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Michael Pollan, a professor of journalism and a student of food, presents the history of four plants, each of which found a way to make itself essential to humans, thus ensuring widespread propagation. Apples, for sweetness; tulips, for beauty; marijuana, for pleasure; and, potatoes, for sustenance. Each has a story of discovery and adaptation; each has a symbiotic relationship with human civilization. The film tells these stories and examines these relationships. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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28 October 2009 (USA)  »

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[first lines]
Narrator: They are four of the most common plants we know. We've always thought that WE controlled THEM. But what if, in fact, THEY had been shaping US?
Michael Pollan: We - don't give nearly enough credit to plants. They're, have been working on us. They've been using us. For their own purposes.
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Our plants may be more successful than we are
2 December 2009 | by (San Francisco, CA) – See all my reviews

By making themselves as attractive to us as possible, the four plants documented here have spread over the whole world. They have succeeded in getting us to do their bidding. Michael Pollan helps us see from the plant's point of view just what we're doing to the planet. By telling the history of some of our most important plants and interviewing the growers most intimate with them, he clarifies our symbiotic relationship with them. He lays out fairly the opposing views on high tech versus organic growing arguments. He clearly prefers the work-with-nature approach but fully understands that we're completely dependent upon high tech methods. The only really clear opinion he hammers strongly is that monoculture is bad and that preserving biodiversity is the key to a solution. He doesn't quite explain *how* we can do that globally, but he's quite good at getting people thinking in new ways about the bigger pictures of this divisive subject, and this is the main strength of the movie. The photography and production quality are also very high.


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