"Queen of the Sun": Documentary Looks at Bee Colony Collapse

Sara Mapelli performs a ritual dance with 12,000 bees.
Sara Mapelli performs a ritual dance with 12,000 bees.


Not rated. Opens Friday at the Roxie. Director appears for Q&A after Friday, Sunday, and Monday evening shows.

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Apiphobes — people suffering from the fear of bees — will want to avoid this latest film by the director of The Real Dirt on Farmer John. A good deal of Taggart Siegel's work consists of close-ups of our yellow fuzzy friends, together with beautiful shots of amber-colored honey shot against sunlight. Apiphobes may however rejoice in the film's first half, depicting the terrible decline in the world's bee population. Unfortunately for the rest of us, this catastrophe, blamed here on pesticides and the effect of genetically modified crops, may deprive us of much of the food that we eat. Bees, you must know, are central to pollinating our crops, and modern industrial practices are fatally weakening them. Siegel even gets us upset at the practice of artificially inseminating queen bees — swarming is best. More hard data on these vital topics would have been welcome, but instead there's an upbeat, rather New Agey thrust to this film. We therefore see lots of urban and rural beekeepers living in harmony, dancing with, enjoying the stings of, and in one case rubbing his mustache on these helpful critters. Nonetheless everyone, even apiphobes, should see this film, if only to appreciate the danger we're all in of a buzzless world.

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Do you know it takes one honey bee its entire life time to make 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey? That should make you appreciate how many bee lives went into a jar of honey!


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