Think Global, Act Rural (Solutions locales pour un désordre global) (2010)
|Year Of Production||2010|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Coline Serreau|
João Pedro Stedile
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Until I saw Think Global, Act Rural I had assumed, I imagine like many others, that the Green Revolution was an astounding success and an example of humanity at its best. This French made documentary (original name Solutions locales pour un désordre global) suggests, however, that instead the revolution has led to a disaster which has forever damaged the lives of farmers, particularly In the Third World.
For the uninitiated, the Green Revolution is the name given to a series of US led rural reforms and initiatives which emerged after the Second World War. The stated aim was simple. Stop millions of people dying from avoidable starvation due to failing crops and pest infestation. The ideas and initiatives were fairly simple too. Instead of small lot, multi-crop, farming instead the farmer should concentrate on single crop over larger areas. Instead of using traditional ineffective methods to combat pests, use the latest in pesticides which emerged from the wartime chemical labs. Finally, instead of storing and replanting seed use newly developed seeds which were resistant to common agricultural problems.
On the face of it the initiatives seemed admirable. Bumper crops meant greater food reserves for everyone, minimising the number of avoidable deaths through starvation.
This documentary poses several problems.
It begins with the idea that the initiatives were not actually developed with the bellies of the starving in mind but rather the pockets of the developing chemical and research industries. What better way to keep the US economy going than to create an ongoing market for the by-products of war which were no longer necessary to fight the enemy?
The chemical industries are not the only ones targeted. The recent documentary Food Inc took a swipe at Monsanto, the seed company, for effectively creating a monopoly over the purchase of seeds. A farmer could no longer gather his own seeds and replant them. To do so was punishable at law. Instead he had to keep purchasing seeds from Monsanto. As bad as this is for US farmers the position is significantly worse for those in poorer countries.
Undercutting all these points is the general theme of the film that farming was originally about the produce, about feeding the farmers family and supplementing their income with the excess food. The Green Revolution was instead a wholesale change of that approach, meaning that growing food was solely motivated by economics bringing capitalist ideas to subsistence farming areas.
The film presents some interesting ideas and gives examples of those affected areas. It paints a terrible picture of the Third World where farmers are killing themselves rather than face expulsion from their farms due to the inability to survive. It also gives some hope in the form of French farmers creating cooperatives designed to bring organic product to the market. As well as the mixed use farming ideas the film suggests that ploughing the soil destroys the nutrients and delicate soil balance. The film works best when it expresses the simple idea that mixed used farming and light tilling creates a better soil (where farms have milking cows and are able to spread the fields with their manure) then vast tracts of modified seeds doused with all manner of chemicals.
What it lacks, however, is a perspective. The idea of the film was to promote the natural approach to farming and to describe the failures of the Green Revolution. However, we as viewers have been dumped into a world perhaps few know about and not given any sense of perspective or balance. We are simply told that the Green Revolution has failed and provided with examples. Numerous academics and opponents to big business farming are interviewed and relate at length their concerns about the future of the farm.There is no one to defend the modern farming principles or to suggest that starvation has been minimised by the introduction of new and efficient farming methods.
Also, as an avid documentary watcher I baulk whenever a director feels the need to juxtapose images of a sad eyed farm animal with plaintive string music to suggest that the agricultural system is failing. It devalues the quality of the argument.
Nevertheless, an interesting watch.
Think Global Act Rural is presented on DVD in a 1.78:1 transfer which appears to be consistent with its original aspect ratio.
The film consists of a variety of sources. There is interview material with a series of intellectuals and was also some interviews "in the field" with farmers.
The result is a film that looks fairly rough and ready. This is not necessarily a criticism but rather a reflection of the style of filmmaking at work.
For what it is, the image is fairly stable. It is not particularly sharp. The colours are not vivid but nevertheless acceptable and the flesh tones are accurate.
The English subtitles are burnt on to the print.
The sound for Think Global, Act Rural is a French Dolby Digital 2.0 running at a miniscule 192 Kb/s.
The film is in French. Occasionally there will be speakers in other languages which are then interpreted into French and subtitled accordingly.
The dialogue is easy to understand. There is no particular score used for the film.
|Surround Channel Use|
There are no extras.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
I can find no information about other Regions. Buy local not global!
Think Global Act Rural presents one clear important point-that we need to think more about our food, spend more time growing it than buying everything pre-packaged and adulterated from the shops. That said, it is fairly hard going and many will find it too dry and analytical to achieve its intended purpose.
The sound and vision are adequate bearing in mind the nature of the film.
There are no extras
|DVD||Cambridge 650BD (All Regions), using HDMI output|
|Display||Sony VPL-VW80 Projector on 110" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Amplification||Pioneer SC-LX 81 7.1|
|Speakers||Aaron ATS-5 7.1|