‘More Than Honey’ lets us hang with bees

The documentary "More Than Honey" pushes its cameras into the world of bees Credit: Kino Lorber, Inc
The documentary “More Than Honey” pushes its cameras into the world of bees
Credit: Kino Lorber, Inc

‘More Than Honey’
Director: Markus Imhoof
Genre: Documentary
Rating: NR
3 (out of 5) Globes

The news over the last few years that bees are dying off en masse sent shockwaves throughout the world. Pests that attack humans at the slightest provocation, they are nonetheless vital to our planet’s ecosystem, on top of creating one of its sweetest, healthiest treats. One of the interviewees in “More Than Honey,” a German documentary about bees and their epidemic, quotes Albert Einstein’s prediction that once bees completely die out, humans will only have four years left. That doomsday prophesizing is, however, thin on the ground in what is otherwise a calm, even strange film about how interesting bees are to watch — or at least how interesting its filmmakers think they are.

It’s little surprise, watching the film, to discover director Markus Imhoof hails from a long line of beekeepers. The film is divided between hang-out sessions with beekeepers from all over the world and spectacular, immersive shots of bees at work. These are shot with macro-lenses that make bees look bigger than life, just as in “Microcosmos” as well as in “The Hellstrom Chronicle,” a 1971 semi-documentary that jokingly claimed insects would take over the earth. Every now and then Imhoof takes things into the realm of CGI fantasy, but the shots of bees milling about hives and honeycomb are, if a bit same-y, hypnotic and beautiful.

Arguably even more arresting are the humans that tend to them. We see an old man, a beekeeping lifer, who doesn’t bother protecting his body underneath the usual beekeeper costume. While talking of manipulating his stock by messing with their queens, he calmly wrangles a scarily compliant bee to a table with his finger, then smashes its head.

There’s a faint Herzogian weirdness to the film and some of its human guests, who obsess over a subject that would interests few, but who nevertheless keep calm as they entertain the possibility that their livelihood could be in jeopardy. Imhoof keeps calm, too, even as the focus turns to the killer bee scare in the 1970s that inspired both a regular “Saturday Night Live” sketch and the unintentionally silly disaster film “The Swarm.” It’s the rare alarmist eco-film that tells viewers to chill out.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.