Berlinale: Programme

Film file

Culinary Cinema

The Botany Of Desire

Botanik der Begierde

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Humans use plants, but plants also use humans to spread. This idea came to author Michael Pollan whilst gardening. In The Botany of Desire, he gives a witty visual lesson on the joyful relationship between humans and plants with the help of four examples: apples, tulips, marihuana and potatoes.

In order for the plant to be considered useful by humans it has to offer them something special. Apples arrived in the New World with the Europeans. For the settlers, they were an important source of sugar and alcohol. The potato spread all over the world due to its easily controllable cultivation. Humans love tulips because of their beauty. Marihuana is an illegal but widely spread mind-altering plant. These vegetable objects of desire can make humans a fortune, or ruin them - and sometimes even whole species and countries with them.

On the basis of the same-titled bestseller by Michael Pollan, Michael Schwarz has made a documentary with rich photography which impressively back up Pollan’s hypothesis of co-evolution. This “very funny and wise author” (William Cronon) could also be seen in the last Culinary Cinema with FOOD, INC..

In the USA, Michael Pollan is one of the protagonists of the Slow Food Movement which began 20 years ago in Italy. Slow Food campaigns for food produced in a healthy, environmentally friendly and socially responsible way, all over the world. Michaels Pollan’s latest book is called In defense of food: an eater’s manifesto (German translation: Lebensmittel, published by Goldmann Verlag).

USA 2009, 120 min


Michael Schwarz


Michael Pollan