KING CORN – Retroview by Jennifer Merin

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If you believe you are what you eat, you’ll no doubt be shocked to learn that you’re mostly corn. Aaron Woolf’s documentary reveals that the majority of Americans eat mostly corn–or, to be more specific, food products derived from or containing corn. In King Corn, Woolf follows young eco-activists Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis–who met and became investigative cohorts while undergrads at Yale–as they return to the scene of their coincidentally similar family roots in rural Greene, Iowa, to plant and harvest an acre’s worth of corn, and then to trace their crop as it is processed into the food products that nurture the increasingly obese and unhealthy–and always hungry–American population.

Two Eco-activists Follow the Corn Trail in American Food Production

Without much difficulty or drama, Cheney and Ellis convince a local farmer–who actually sells his family farm during the course of the filming–to let them use an acre of his land to plant their crop.

Acting as our eyes and ears about current corn conditions and concerns–government subsidies, fertilizer, pesticides, soil type and the like–the eco-duo call on local experts to advise them about the best corn to plant, best way to plant it and, indeed, to do some crop maintenance for them. Continue readIng on CINEMA CITIZEN

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Jennifer Merin

Jennifer Merin is the Film Critic for Womens eNews and contributes the CINEMA CITIZEN blog for and is managing editor for Women on Film, the online magazine of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, of which she is President. She has served as a regular critic and film-related interviewer for The New York Press and About.com. She has written about entertainment for USA Today, The L.A. Times, US Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Endless Vacation Magazine, Daily News, New York Post, SoHo News and other publications. After receiving her MFA from Tisch School of the Arts (Grad Acting), Jennifer performed at the O'Neill Theater Center's Playwrights Conference, Long Wharf Theater, American Place Theatre and LaMamma, where she worked with renown Japanese director, Shuji Terayama. She subsequently joined Terayama's theater company in Tokyo, where she also acted in films. Her journalism career began when she was asked to write about Terayama for The Drama Review. She became a regular contributor to the Christian Science Monitor after writing an article about Marketta Kimbrell's Theater For The Forgotten, with which she was performing at the time. She was an O'Neill Theater Center National Critics' Institute Fellow, and then became the institute's Coordinator. While teaching at the Universities of Wisconsin and Rhode Island, she wrote "A Directory of Festivals of Theater, Dance and Folklore Around the World," published by the International Theater Institute. Denmark's Odin Teatret's director, Eugenio Barba, wrote his manifesto in the form of a letter to "Dear Jennifer Merin," which has been published around the world, in languages as diverse as Farsi and Romanian. Jennifer's culturally-oriented travel column began in the LA Times in 1984, then moved to The Associated Press, LA Times Syndicate, Tribune Media, Creators Syndicate and (currently) Arcamax Publishing. She's been news writer/editor for ABC Radio Networks, on-air reporter for NBC, CBS Radio and, currently, for Westwood One's America In the Morning. She is also a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. For her AWFJ archive, type "Jennifer Merin" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).