The World According to Monsanto

Monsanto is the global market leader for genetically modified organisms, (GMOs) with operations in forty-six countries. 90% of todays recorded seed genetics, including corn, soy, rape seed, and cotton, are either Monsanto products or partially patented by Monsanto. This company’s practices are widely disputed and often subject to criticism by those affected and opponents of globalization.

From its founding in 1901, Monsanto has been involved in countless legal battles due to the dangerous nature of its products. Today, Monsanto "wants to control all seeds and make all food his property" according to one farmer in "The World According to Monsanto". In India, Monsanto has bought up almost all companies that sell cotton seed. Now, farmers can only purchase the genetically modified Monsanto seed, at four-times the original price. In order to afford the seeds at all, farmers are taking on huge debts. If their harvest fails, they can lose everything.

Another unhappy group are soybean producers from the USA. As one affected person said, "Monsanto spreads fear and dread among farmers". The soybean genes are patented and owned by Monsanto -a kind of copyright protection- the farmers are not allowed to retain anything from the harvest in order to sow it the next year. Monsanto’s "gene police" are sent to uncover any such infringements and the farmers are subject to court.

This documentary is based on previously unpublished documents and interviews with victims, scientists, representatives of citizen’s initiatives, lawyers and politicians. Director Marie-Monique Robin travelled around North and South America, as well as Europe and Asia for three years to reconstruct the history of today’s most powerful seed bank.

Monsanto’s clean and environmentally friendly image -promoted by relentless advertising- develops some serious cracks. Can basic livelihoods and their cultivation coexist in a company policy which mercilessly pursues monopoly and market leadership?

"The World According to Monsanto" is an excellent ARTE-production of high quality. Captivating, just like a thriller, we consider it the most exciting documentary on the issues of genetic engineering and transgenic contamination. The film makes many meaningful connections and can be enjoyed multiple times.

The global impact of GMO produce is unfortunately enormous. It is therefore very important to expose facts and information on this issue. We really hope that many people decide to sponsor DVDs and screenings of this film.

Director(s): Marie-Monique Robin
Script: Marie-Monique Robin
Music: Olivier Auriol
Year: 2008
Duration: 109 min
Our age recommendation: 16
Language (audio): German, French, English
Country of origin: Germany, Canada, France
Shooting Locations:
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Main topic(s): Genetic Engineering + Seeds
Secondary topics: biodiversity food security externalisation toxins globalisation
Mentions: genetechnology genetic criticism seed control property crop GMO monsanto genetically modified organisms
Topic Page(s): Genetic Engineering + Seeds

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