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Symphony of the Soil (2012)

Drawing from ancient knowledge and cutting edge science, Symphony of the Soil is an artistic exploration of the miraculous substance soil. By understanding the elaborate relationships and ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ignacio Chapela ... Himself - Narrator, Interviewee, Microbial Ecologist and Associate Professor, University of California, Berkeley
... Himself - Chef, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture and Blue Hill Restaurant
... Herself - Physicist and Environmental Activist
Daniel Hillel ... Himself - Retired Professor of Soil Physics and Hydrology and Senior Research Scientist
Elaine Ingham ... Herself - President and Director of Research, Rodale, 2011; President and Director of Research, Soil Foodweb Inc 1996-2011
Michael Hansen ... Himself - Senior Scientist with Consumers Union, Publisher of Consumer Reports
Fred Kirschenmann ... Himself - Farmer, Distinguished Fellow at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, President of the Board, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture
Penny Livingston-Stark ... Herself - Co-Director of the Regenerative Design Institute and Co-Manager of the Commonweal Garden Organic Farm, Bolinas, CA
Kate Scow ... Herself - Professor of Soil Science and Microbial Ecology Department of Land, Air and Water Resources
Warren Weber ... Himself - Farmer, Star Route Farms, Bolinas, CA
John Williams ... Himself - Owner and Winemaker, Frog's Leap Winery, Rutherford, CA
Paul Hepperly ... Himself - Research Director 2002-2009, The Rodale Institute
Oliver Chadwick ... Himself - Professor of Geography
Charles Benbrook ... Himself - Chief Scientist of The Organic Center
Jaspal Singh Chattha ... Himself - Farmer, J & P Organic Farm, India
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Storyline

Drawing from ancient knowledge and cutting edge science, Symphony of the Soil is an artistic exploration of the miraculous substance soil. By understanding the elaborate relationships and mutuality between soil, water, the atmosphere, plants and animals, we come to appreciate the complex and dynamic nature of this precious resource. The film also examines our human relationship with soil, the use and misuse of soil in agriculture, deforestation and development, and the latest scientific research on soil's key role in ameliorating the most challenging environmental issues of our time. Filmed on four continents, featuring esteemed scientists and working farmers and ranchers, Symphony of the Soil is an intriguing presentation that highlights possibilities of healthy soil creating healthy plants creating healthy humans living on a healthy planet. Written by Anonymous

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Discover the world beneath your feet.


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11 October 2013 (USA)  »

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(Skywalker Sound)

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16:9 HD
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User Reviews

Symphony Of The Soil: Soil Is The Food Of Existence
20 February 2017 | by See all my reviews

Like a symphony the film has four movements, the first is a lively ode to soil: its creation, purpose, function, diversity, aesthetic beauty; the second is a gently rolling patchwork plow across the nascent global spread of organic sustainable farming methods; the third is rapid round-up of front line anthropogenic threats to our planet and the role sustainable organic farming and nutrient-rich soil will play in averting those threats as well as radically reorienting the way we live our lives; and the fourth and final movement occurs after the credits roll: the movement of we the viewers, the movement of our consciousness towards a science-based awareness of our earth that better informs our choices, a movement of responsibility for this planet, a movement into our front yard/backyard to begin our own gardens and composting, a movement towards organic food, the fourth movement is what we the viewer take away from the viewing and re-invest back into this world we live in, and that movement is in our hands The film is a visual feast transforming the earth into desert food Earth in space; sunlight glows down on glaciated region, next shot shows elliptical swath of sun glow over glaciated region (Norway); sunlight gives and earth receives A glacier in Norway; rock ground down by water; luscious creamy folds of mineral; viscous and seminal and spermy and pearly; nature's amniotic elixir; biblical humus from the soil to fashion humans ('adamah' means the soil), pottery folds ready to be swirled into earthenware, mineral slough ready to be soldiered into the pencil, mineral newly minted for casting into coin and printing into paper currency; molten cement and granite ready to pour into the foundations; congealing lava spent of fury; raw cookie dough ready for baking; thick loamy creamery to churn into a vat of homemade pistachio ice cream; buttermilk biscuit batter or doughnut glaze or almond mocha pie puree; vanilla mint malted shake; portobello soup; a poultice for regeneration; this creamy mineral is the constituent ingredient of the recipe, the porridge, the quickening gruel, the beginning of soil, a floe/flow of natural capital And so it begins, life complexes upon itself, living things growing on themselves Dr. Ignacio Chapela digs out (with what looks like a large cake cutter) a large carbon cube of peat that descends downward a thousand years in age, with wild green grass on top and strong egg white roots trailing down; looks like a super-sized chocolate brownie, a thickly textured richly fluffed intricately porous and tunneled double-handed block of double-decadent devil's food cake laced with vanilla candy strips yum yum yum, then he digs out a bouquet of chocolate cotton candy, flips the chunks over and they look like succulent blocks of double-decadent chocolate icing An underwater shot of pure white coral floating within blackness, friable like soil, carbon and calcium trappers, latticework sugar domes of white sprinkles and white nonpareils (aka Sno-Caps), confectionery crystals, sugar plums, frosty snowflakes, cellular configurations, star structures, then the scientist lifts up square blocks of the sandy oat bran and they look like rice krispies treats, his fingers crumble the blocks down, delicate matrices of diverse soil crumble at a touch, keystone infrastructures propping up existence are crumbling because of the human touch A sequence in Hawaii is a visual presentation of Creation and fertilization and cataclysm, of perpetual geographic, biologic, thermodynamic activity, the law of the conservation of energy and the first law of thermodynamics on display in perpetuity Soil has parents just like we have parents; wind is the parent of the Palouse loess, bringing clay and sand together; other parents include but are not limited to water: overflowing waters of the Mississippi deposit alluvium, a spectacular aerial shot of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain follows, a flood of sunlit water gilding an expanse of green farmland with heavenly alchemy; next shot is the actual alluvial deposit, its harmonious design a grand universal tree of life magnifying the interrelation of everything, its roots deep in the earth and its branches scrolling celestial ward, our soil is rooted deep in the earth and stratifies itself upward then branches outward to generate and maintain everything we need to exist; 70% of the world's soil is immigrant soil, its constituent parts carried across the earth by wind and water before finally settling into a marriage to birth soil The next sequence is a Peter Greenwayesque visual metalpesis of soil taxonomy, accompanied by individual lively brass musical themes representing each type of soil A superb watercolour animation about photosynthesis links together photosynthesis with cellular processes, galactic processes, and sperm-ova fertilization Life below ground mirrors life in the cells mirrors life above ground mirrors life in the cosmicsphere A quick montage showing the beauty of decomposition and (wormy) organisms, there are many gorgeous (and heavily-metaphorical) time-lapse moments and archive footage and montages through the film Importance of developing dynamic relationships between agriculturalists, environmentalists, farmers, cooks: the spectrum of people directly involved in handling soil represent a world bank of knowledge that when combined produce a synergy of shared stewardship invested in and dedicated to naturing and nurturing our natural capital stock of soil in the healthiest most sustainable way possible The documentary winds down to extemporize over the future ramifications of "conventional" chemical farming and the depletion of organic matter, and the future role soil will have to play in a world increasingly destabilized by increasing energy costs, depleting water resources, depleting land availability, unstable climates and severe weather events (anthropogenic global warming), the inability to keep up with feeding a growing global population, etc; we need to fundamentally change the way we produce our food; return to the fundamentals of the soil; organic regenerative methods; community waste composted to rejuvenate soil and build local farms and shared food hub that employ and feed community and revitalize local economy and bring people together


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