FondsGoetheanum: Bees

More than Honey

“Without bees, a third of everything we eat would not exist.” This is the challenging affirmation of Swiss film director and screenwriter, Markus Imhoof, in his successful film, More than Honey, entered by Switzerland in the Oscars in the categories of ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ and ‘Best Documentary’.

More than Honey is one of the most successful documentary films. Had you expected this?

While we had hoped that the film would reach perhaps 50,000 spectators in Switzerland, no one had imagined that there would be more than 250,000, or that the film would be shown in 30 countries. For over a year, I have travelled with this film. I have given more than 500 interviews and 200 live discussions with audiences. Right now, I'm pretty exhausted.

More than Honey, most successful Swiss documentary to date.

What question or public comment most excited you during the presentations of your film?

I am always pleased to see the amazement of the audience discovering solidarity between all things, and to hear the question: What can I personally do to change anything? I respond: If we, as human beings, understand we are part of nature, then we are like an instrument in an orchestra, say the first violin. But everyone must listen very precisely to the sound of the other instruments so that the music can come into being.

How has your view of bees changed since the production of the film?

Fascination with the intelligence of the swarm is something that has changed my life and my future work.

How do you see the future of bees? In your opinion, what measures should be taken urgently to strengthen and maintain bee colonies?

Bees should be treated with respect for their species. That means we need to accept some of their characteristics that seem to us awkward or inconvenient:

  • They reproduce by swarming, so as to start afresh in a hive without disease.
  • The sweetness of honey achieved by artificial selection benefits the beekeeper, but not the vitality of the bees, on which they depend in order to fight diseases.
  • We need an agriculture that is not industrial. To this end, as citizens we can do a great deal through the ballot box and petitions, as well as playing our role as responsible consumers.

Dear Mr Imhoof, very many thanks for this interview