Farming may seem prosaic to the uninitiated, but "Seed: The Untold Story" reveals the poetry present in the practice through its smallest element.
Multiple people in the documentary compare seeds to jewels, both for their varied, colorful appearance as well as for their value. The film reveals the beauty present in the every day, and a variety of stunning animation styles further illustrate the wonder of nature.
Directors Taggart Siegel and Jon Betz travel the world to tell their story, speaking with farmers, seed bankers, ethnobotanists and even Jane Goodall. They weave a tale of farming that begins centuries ago, sharing how the changes in industrial farming — and particularly the growth of biotech companies like Monsanto and Dow — are damaging disappearing cultures like the Hopi tribe and affecting the health of people around the globe.
One particular focus is the shrinking number of seed varieties and the challenges facing those who seek to save them for future generations through seed banks around the world.
Though "Seed: The Untold Story" spends some of its short running time on the dangers of genetically modified foods, biotech giants and the growing lack of biodiversity, it's ultimately hopeful. This is a gorgeously made film, put together with as much care as its subjects devote to saving the remaining varieties of seeds.
'Seed: The Untold Story'
Running time: 94 minutes
Playing: Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica