Queen of the Sun – What are the bees telling us
Directed by Taggart Siegel
A Collective Eye Production - 2010
Review by Heidi Hermann
View the Trailer
A title both enigmatic and evocative as well as perfectly fitting for a film that celebrates the Bee. Taggart Siegel (director) and Jon Betz (producer) travelled the world for nearly two years to meet people who care deeply about bees - writers, farmers, philosophers, scientists and beekeepers - and present in this extraordinary documentary the fruits of an intense and unusual exploration. Queen of the Sun is Taggart Siegel’s personal voyage of discovery of a great and promising potential: the relationship between human beings and bees. The result is a powerful advocacy of the urgent need to help re-create a world in which bees can live so that human beings can learn from them.
Expect to be delighted, inspired and deeply concerned – this is a documentary which achieves its educational purpose through masterful deployment of shock and awe, with the emphasis firmly on the latter. The viewer’s sense of wonder and hope is kindled by seeing the bees in all their glory, doing what they have always done, and the beauty of nature’s harmony, captured with exquisite cinematography, as well as the power of love manifested by many of the people one meets as the story unfolds.
Ever since the importance of bees to our food supply was “discovered” in the wake of the phenomenon of colony collapse disorder in the United States, there has been a plethora of bee documentaries speculating about the possible causes for the mass deaths of bee colonies amidst plentiful disturbing footage of death and destruction, trailer trucks transporting millions of bees to agricultural deserts etc. Various such films have made the rounds of community halls, small private cinemas and other venues, leaving audiences in a state of horror and disbelief, ashamed to be part of the human race that allowed it all to happen.
High time, indeed, for Queen of the Sun to wing its way over here. Here, at long last, is a bee movie that holds the promise of making an impact, of helping to bring about change through inspired action. Whilst it definitively tackles the serious issues surrounding our treatment of nature and the bees, its real virtue rests on its drawing significantly on the transformative power of inspiration. Taggart is a man of vision determined to reach our hearts. The ravages of industrial agriculture, the paucity of materialist thinking, and the sad story of our fall from grace vis-à-vis the honeybee and the living world - they all feature prominently, at times painfully. But not all is dark, far from it.
A cast of interesting and colourful individuals tracked down on several continents shine the light of possible solutions. A powerful light, all things considered. As people talk about insects and flowers and ways of life, about farming and about their ways with bees, in a highly entertaining array of personal styles and in very diverse environments, we find ourselves drawn irresistibly into a different world: the strangely enigmatic, enchanting world of man and bee. The world of bees and flowers, of love and devotion, of selfless endeavour.