News from the Locarno Festival

Scheduled by Nature, with a Killer Cast

Scheduled by Nature, with a Killer Cast



It took Swiss director Markus Imhoof five years to make More than Honey, closing this year’s Festival del film Locarno on the Piazza Grande. “It is difficult when Nature is doing the planning, and a bee cast is not always easy to control,” he explained.

Imhoof filmed his documentary about bees in Europe, the US, South America, Australia, China, including three months among 15 bee heaves in Vienna’s Makrostudio, leaving him with 105 hours of footage to edit. “I heard the beginning of the story from my grandfather, who was a beekeeper in Sofingen, Switzerland.

I have a daughter and a son-in-law who are bee scientists, so now I wanted to tell the second part to my grandsons.”

“Einstein said that if the honey bee was extinct, man would follow four years later. However, the Africanised honey bee, the killer bee, will make sure that the bees survive; they look the same, but they have a different character – they defend in hundreds, and will follow you more than a mile.”

“In Vienna, for the macros, we worked with a bee whisperer – you cannot tell the bees what to do, only try to seduce them by smells,” added the director, who travelled the continents to interview beekeepers, environment experts and scientists about swarm intelligence and social cohabitation.

“What surprised me the most was that here is a colony of up to 50,000 brothers and sisters, headed by a queen, the mother of them all. But the workers can decide when they want a new queen – the old won has to leave and find a new place to live, which is not easy.”

“The story for my grandsons – and everybody else – is that human beings should not be parasites on nature, but find the same co-existance as the bees have had with the plants for millions of years.

That would be helpful for both,” Imhoof concluded.

(Jørn Rossing Jensen)

Jorn Rossing Jensen
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