Instead of going to see Even play last night, we stayed in and watched King Corn, a great doco that investigates the prevalence of corn in the US food chain.
While studying at college, two friends have strands of their hair analysed in a geochemistry lab and discover that the carbon in their bodies originated from corn. So what do they do? They go to Iowa, the middle notch on the US corn-belt, where they lease an acre of land and become corn farmers for a year.
The people they encounter along the way combined with the guerrilla style filmmaking makes for compelling viewing, and what the guys learn, and we with them, is extraordinary and frightening and fascinating.
The journey the corn travels from Iowa to the filmmakers’ hair is worrying, but not nearly as distressing as the entire world view presented in The World According to Monsanto, another food-related film we recently saw.
It seemed a nice coincidence that we watched King Corn last night, on the eve of my sister A’s return from the US. She is back for, among other reasons, our grandfather’s 90th birthday party. When she returns to the US, she will be heading to Iowa to take up a two-year writing scholarship.
At the heart of the film are families trying to make a living on their farms, and the two filmmakers tracing their own genealogies back to their Iowan great-grandfathers.
And at the heart of my reaction to the film is my own family, and my sister’s expedition to the centre of the madness.