Sarah J Christman, 86 min
United States, 2019
A sensory opus from a volcanic island of Hawaii, where honey bees, the original people's cosmology and a NASA project are all part of a thought-provoking ecosystem.
On the volcanic island of Hawaii, 10-year-old Manu and her mother collect wild, endangered bees in order to breed disease-resistant colonies. Her father is protesting on the sacred mountain Mauna Kea against the establishment of a gigantic telescope. On the neighbouring mountain, six NASA scientists practice living on Mars, and under the ground and the water, the Kilauea volcano quivers fatefully. The scientific view of the world and the cosmology of the indigenous people are both components of Sarah J. Christman's beautiful feature debut. With an artist's eye for details and plenty of time for amazement, 'Swarm Season' draws fascinating parallels between the micro- and macrocosm, and challenges our understanding of nature, the world and ourselves. The form is sensory, impressionistic and free, with space for our own interpretations, while also razor-sharp, when Christman observes the bees, their necessary swarming and the intricate engineering of their hives as a prism to look at all life around us. If honey bees - one of the most robust and cooperative species on this planet - are threatened with extinction, what future does humanity have on Earth?