Tuesday, August 13, 2013

More Than Honey

"If all the bees ever died out, mankind would follow four years later." - Albert Einstein

The apian documentary "More Than Honey," directed by Swiss filmmaker and sometime beekeeper Markus Imhoof (there's a great old photograph of his grandfather standing on an Alpine hillside, smoking a cigar beside the "house" he's constructed specifically for his beehives), explores the vital role of bees in the propagation of plant and animal life. It answers myriad questions about bees - how they "see" the world (as a 3-D map based entirely on smell), how they communicate (their "waggle dance" delineates the route and distance to the nearest quality food source), why so many of them are dying off in China and North America - and leaves the viewer with others, including the intriguing possibility that the so-called "killer bee" (actually the Africanized honey bee) may be most beneficial to man in the long run. (As Imhoof notes, "Americans are always afraid of being invaded by someone.") What sets "More Than Honey" apart are the breathtaking bee's-eye-view flight sequences, set to a soundtrack of classical music (no, no Rimsky-Korsakov). I haven't seen anything quite like them since maybe "2001."

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