Life Running Out Of Control


Life Running Out Of Control In the mid 1980s, scientists unlocked the genetic keys to manipulating our world. Suddenly everything seemed possible! There would be no more hunger or malnutrition; diseases would be vanquished and poverty wiped out. But twenty years on the situation looks very different. From the loss of biodiversity to health scares about GM food, the effects of genetic technology are prompting more and more debate. Our documentary this week is an intelligent look at both sides of the issue. Made for ARTE.

Across the world, multinationals like Monsanto are meeting with unexpected resistance to their genetically modified products. But are these concerns justified? Or are activists battling the forces of progress? Renowned filmmakers Bertram Verhaag and Gabriele Krober sets out on a global journey to explore the development of genetic technology. Spanning three continents and beautifully filmed, this high quality doc hears from the scientists, farmers and activists at the heart of the debate.

Ratings: 7.76/10from 38 users.

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48 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Janeen Clark

    "...............There would be no more hunger or malnutrition; diseases would be vanquished and poverty wiped out............"
    these are all money related issues that the money system itself creates

    not an issue about food

    1. LoggerheadShrike

      Exactly. Technology can overcome natural challenges, but it doesn't change human behaviour. If we all act according to a complex fantasy game about imaginary tokens, which are predicated upon scarcity, then the only thing that'll change the way we behave is to change the rules of that game, or play a different game altogether.

  2. Jeff Large

    The narrator has called Roundup a pesticide. It is not. It is an herbicide.

    1. Amanda

      That's all you've got? You didn't get past the first ten minutes, did you?

    2. Healer

      So what it is all killing us. So many people like you are nit picking id**ts. The point of the film is that the world is being destroyed by Monsanto and America as usual, trading life for profit, just like the Nazis harvested gold teeth from dead Jews in the concentration camps, not that the person orating made a small mistake.

  3. David Faubion

    Vandana Shiva, the great Indian physicist, biologist, Gandhian, mover and shaker is prominent in this film as are a growing number of other inspired devotees to the truth and reality. Thus, this film has me feeling more optimistic about our gaining ground against the tyranny of Monsanto and other giant agra-business (yet, spell-checker insists that the word agra be capitalized) -->But the film gives me gloom in learning about the likely risk to health through GMO foods we have already unwittingly consumed that may well be tampering with our DNA NOW. LABEL ALL GMO FOOD!@!@ RALPH NADER, WHERE ARE YOU, GOOD BROTHER!?!? -->Plus, the scientist from Lapland chills my bones with his stats about the science brain drain down the sink of GMO into its hell on Earth campaign. -->Maybe if humanity or –woo-manity— can get us past the corporate headlong drive to obliterate the Earth's biodiversity, if we turn this corner by screeching on the brakes of our juggernaut of manic market-growth, maybe then we will see the value in all of us, how precious our link worldwide to one another, how so-called class, status, wealth, whiteness and power is just trivial crap. A great, dramatic film: an 11 or 12 of these nimble jots of gibberish * * * * * * * * * * * * *

  4. crawfordt996

    Fantastic movie!

  5. Acezero 44

    The problem is patent's,

    Patents protect a new invention, but when the Invention in question is a new type of life, that place ownership on the spread of said life. Its easy to see the abuse of a corporate take over.

    A company could use this law to claim ownership of a type of fish in the whole ocean or a lake,.

    I see our kids having to pay tax on a patent used to give them longer life they had no choice in, they were just born with it,.

    new types of slavery,.. scary stuff..

  6. panthera f

    Biological polution is criminal. :-(

  7. panthera f

    If that Shiva woman ever gets an "accident", you will know who did it. :-(

  8. Amar Mirza

    Just to make sure everyone knows. Almost every claim? in this film "Life Out of Control" has been out and out disproved. The Canadian guy WAS cultivating the GM plant illegally, the Indian Farmers actually had increased yields (25%) and profits (50%) on average, and GM plants do not "contaminate" the area. They produce the chemical (pesticides, etc) you would be using on them anyways by themselves (and only in the non-edible/usable parts of the plants) or have added nutrition. Also new GMOs don't produce viable seeds so they won't spread. And that Indian lady is shamelessly using this fear to promote her own business. Btw, all she was able to accuse the GM potato of being was very good at what it was suppose to do (have added protein). If people choose to eat it rather than the grain she is selling because it is cheaper, then that is tough luck for her (but those other people can finally afford to eat enough protein).

    1. Tracy Crawford

      Amar, You say: "Also new GMOs don't produce viable seeds so they won't spread." and "The Canadian guy WAS cultivating the GM plant illegally." Can you explain this? How can he mass cultivate plants that don't produce seeds?

    2. From cuttings

      The only way I can think of doing it would be to cultivate from cuttings (this is the standard practice in nurseries) or he is breeding it with a non-GMO strain. I don't have any details on how this would be done, nor do I care to find out.

    3. David Faubion

      Your screed is part of the usual nay-saying apologists for the corporations that sell you life-decreasing products: the poisons in one sicking toxic product after another. Perhaps you fantasize that Monsanto will cut you a check; well, dream on.

    4. David Faubion

      Amar, you have a minute understanding of what Shiva and the other scientists are saying; likely, your view is limited because your understanding of science is tiny, almost nonexistent. Plus, you make ad hominem claims about findings, but you cite no sources backing your claims. A potato with that much more protein is not a potato; its more like a block of leather or a soggy nut or franken-food that might make you scream and wet your pants if you bit into one. These scientist are playing games with our future; we need to shake them down ASAP.

  9. teresa sumrall

    Big money peck nature. Nature wake up. Nature eat big money.
    No more big money.

  10. Vikram Tejpal

    " an intelligent look at both sides of the issue." if after so many years of studies and test etc you still think there're 2 sides to the issue, and call yourself intelligent ..i suggest you eat what they're selling, and help remove Yourself from the gene pool faster.

  11. Admir Efendic

    this is all old news, humans need to learn to rise up and tear down some stuff. Just talking about it doesnt change a thing. We are like zebras on savannas that are constantly saying "bad lions".

    1. Amar Mirza


    2. trend2000

      love it, kinda very sadly true.

  12. Tommy

    how do you get full screen???

  13. Cynthia

    Sometimes I wonder who these documentaries are made for. It certainly doesn't seem the case that anyone who is on one side of the GMO debate ever switches to the other side just because of a 60 minute video. As someone who is accepting of GMOs as a food source, the only part of this documentary that interested me was the last ten minutes where they, lo-and-behold, actually addressed the dangers of GMOs, instead of skirting the issue with their complaints about genetically engineered seeds contaminating organic farms, big-money companies profiting from suicidal peasants, or fast-growing organisms possibly pushing out indigenous populations.
    When the scientific research proves that consuming GMOs is dangerous to our health, then you've got an argument against GMOs. Until then, all you've got is an argument against how GMOs are being used, which is an important but completely distinct issue. By illustrating stories like "I'm an organic farmer who's being pushed out of business because my neighbor's GMO seeds are contaminating my field" doesn't make your case. Instead, you get defensive backtalk about how "that's not the GMOs fault, it's your neighbor's/the company's/the government's fault" and NOTHING GETS DONE.
    Yes, there's a problem with the agriculture of the world today. I agree that there's been a loss in biodiversity that needs to stop and that a lot of the companies selling their genetically engineered seeds aren't telling the whole truth, but I don't think halting genetic engineering is the miracle solution a lot of people seem to think it is. This documentary never addressed the origin of the Green Revolution, which was the attempt to create higher yielding cereal crops to feed the hungry people of the world. IT WORKED. The problem is that this solution was profitable through the mass-production of a single strain. This killed biodiversity, gave the economic advantage to farmers with capital, and made crops vulnerable to pests and disease. If you want to stop this from happening, you need a better solution than "more genetic engineering" or "no genetic engineering."

    Genetic engineering is not the only solution or the only problem. Get off your soapboxes and offer an implementable solution.

    1. charlouill

      like what? i'm interested cos if u have a solution or anyone has one it would be great if u could share! otherwise the fact that gmo crops worked>>> for a season maybe but we have enough to feed the whole world population so far if we wanted anyway and don't need them. so. i don't think its about technology. i think its about ethics.

    2. Aneleh Avoselli

      there was a hungarian university scientist (arpad pusztai) somewhere in scotland who was given the task to investigate possible health risks with gmo food. his experiments with rats and gm potatoes proved that these negatively affect the rats' immune system and destroy their stomach. This kind of work should have been done long before gmos have been introduced to consumers, but weren't because negative findings are anything but profitable to the gmo producers and sellers. Now, this guy was fired after he felt that the findings should be processed and published and the whole thing should be investigated further. As fas as I know, no other investigation of this kind ever took place (if you consider reports of companies like Monsanto stating gmo is harmless to be subjective and true, u must be out of your mind) . GMO is like a drug that has never been tested for side effects but companies that profit from it are ready to announce it to be the wonder-drug of the century that can change the world. First of all, we live in a capitalistic world - the center of all happening is profit and not some humanitarian desire to save the world. GMO is not the answer to any of mankind's problems, it is another problem we're creating for ourselves. Just listen to your instinct: do u honestly feel like wiping out biodiversity of crops and plants in favour of a (patented!) gm crop is of no harm to us? What does your gut-feeling say to this? I haven't actually seen this documentary so I wouldn't know if it shows the process of creating these foods, but if it doesn't, I recommend u look it up somewhere and see what your instinct says to that..

    3. David Faubion

      BS, Cynthia, the so-called Green Revolution failed, and, thus, we are still paying for its failure. (1) Look at the toxic loss of topsoil from mono-cropping and years of poisons depleting the rhizosphere and (2) now look at the bigger and better fiasco that will redeem agra-business, yeah right. So now they impose the Genetically Modified Organisms of silver bullet of technology upon the food you put into you body. Just as creepy as the pesticide and petrochemical crude of the Green Revolution; and it is the ilk of the same devious brain, the mind of greed, the quick buck that will slow kill you into carcinogenic wonderland of unlimited fast-crap, too cheep to meter.

    4. Amanda

      Your two year-old comment still incites rage. Well done. Solution: composting + backyard/patio/rooftop/church-group/school gardening. Done. Anybody who practices this will realize that the bugs/weeds/pestilence manages crop evolution beautifully, not Neonicotinoids. That maybe, just maybe, not all vegetation needs to come off refrigerated trucks in order to be considered "grocery" items.

      Once upon a time, we called these Victory Gardens. Now we can call it a means of survival. That is, if we can get off the couch and tune out the marketing.

  14. Samuel

    This is not a documentary you bunch of r****ds its a WAKE UP CALL!!!
    Its a wake up call that DON'T F--K WITH NATURE OR IT WILL F--K YOU!!!
    You think you are smarter than Nature?
    Just a friendly reminder! Nature created you, you didn't exist until 200'000 years ago or what ever that EXACT number is on which you retards will start to quarrel because thats all you like to do - LOOK THE SMARTEST!
    YOU R*****S CAN NEVER BE SMARTER THAN NATURE, SO MAKE SURE YOU EAT HER FRUITS AND VEGETABLES THE WAY SHE HAS DESIGNED IN HER INGENIOUSNESS. And oh yeah! one thing that might help the poor if you retards didn't think about: STOP HOARDING & WASTING!!! maybe then there will be some left over for others in line??

    1. Cynthia

      I'm sorry Samuel, but what exactly have you eaten today that nature designed with no input by humans?

    2. Oscar Cernunnos

      you're totally right man, and it is not this planet that we're
      destroying we're only destroying ourselves. The planet will continue to
      live way after we're gone. In a sense the planet is in good shape,
      humans are the ones that aren't well and they're the ones that are

    3. bumpercrop

      Actually the Earth is not in good shape. She has a fever, sudden downpours of sweats and her chills are shaking more violently. Her oceans have grown acidic and her reefs, bays, and watersheds have gotten sickeningly polluted from human waste. Fukoshima is still smoking, spewing radiation into the soil and air. Huge sinkholes are opening up because we are manipulating deep within the bedrock of our topical support.
      We are sucking the life blood, from the bowels of our planet. We are blasting the tops off our mountains to dig even deeper for oil, coal and minerals. We have stripped off the topsoil of our arable land and now rely on petroleum-phosphate chemical fertilizers and increasing used of pest/herbicide poisons for big-agriculture. Observe our air quality. Our Earth will heal. But long, long after humans have destroyed themselves.

  15. KsDevil

    Genetically modified foods are not really intended for the third world. They jsut say that to obtain land to grow food cheap that is sent to first world countries. The local population could survive well enough from the local foods if allowed. Plants are genetically modified so they can grow in climates they would not otherwise survive and in quantities that make the most profit. BTW, humans, and nature have been modifying plants for a very long time. The difference is who makes the decisions, and how, to or nature. The real problem is mono-culture farming. Putting all your eggs in one basket doesn't matter to the chicken, doesn't help the farmer, but it helps the basket maker.

  16. Yusiley S

    It's so easy to come online and talk rubbish about ending GE and telling people to have less children when one is surrounded with food all day and are financially and educationally rich enough to go through planned parenthood and buy birth control. Not everyone, especially those from third world nations could afford those things.

    The problem isn't population or GE but the greedy retards of corporations who are creating, distributing and selling the seeds of GE foods. When Dr. Norman Borlaug planned to create crops that yield more foods, he wasn't thinking about profits, he was thinking to end world hunger which apparently most of the commenters of this documentary are ungrateful bunch of children. So easy to comment a complain and protest against the idea of producing more foods when your not hungry. >_>

    Stop watching and reading media brainwashing materials and get out of the house once in awhile. Go on a road trip. Road trips will show you that the world is large enough to support everyone and provide a comfortable life.

    Some would argue that because human beings never had created lifeforms in labs and released into the wild, that it would cause harm the environment....but where is the proof of that? Most GE crops can't mix with organics. By the way, human beings have always altered and manipulated nature to suit them... this is why we're all sitting quietly in our homes right now and on our computers being alive today. We're top animal because we've altered and manipulated our environment and those that are in and around it.

    I'm sorry but each and everyone of us are here today alive do to altering and manipulating nature and creating medicines and foods from the lab. To deny that to others who are dying and suffering today...who can benefit from these alterations and manipulations is being a selfish, self important, self centered hypocrite! That's why I hate the industrial nations so much these days... many of the people within these societies especially from the middle and upper classes act like a bunch of rich, spoiled, pompous, condescending, over-privileged bunch of sh!the@ded children who are so disconnected with the real world. If I won the Lottery I soooo want to pay a UFC heavyweight striker to go on a trip with me to approach each and every one of these f^cktards and have that fighter punch the retards in their faces. Just knock at their doors and when they open... BOOM!Knock their stupidity right out of them. Seriously, these environmentalist, over-privileged, middle class white sh!ts (most Green Peace members are whites; while the people who could benefit from more foods aren't white) have no clue what is truly going on in the world. It's so easy to say GE is bad when you have a choice and could afford to eat only organic foods. I mean seriously you people ought to do humanity a favor and go kill yourselves. That ought to solve the over population problem you b!tches complain about. *shakes head at the stupidity at the over privileged and over educated*

    Again it's so easy for you people to complain when you're not the ones starving to death.

    1. Matthew Standley

      Good Lord! If you are not the prime candidate for apologist for the GE companies I don't know who is. Your deliberately over simplified argument is see-through at best. Just the holier-than-thou attitude probably stopped most sane and modest individuals from reading your diatribe. Do have a nice day won't you.

    2. Cynthia

      It's great that you like the fact that GMOs can feed the people of third world countries, but you haven't addressed the fact that this documentary clearly has scenes from people who are not living the privileged lives of the developed world like America and still are upset with GMOs. How do you explain that?

    3. bumpercrop

      The problem is a combination of big money manipulation by 1-4% of our population who are psychopaths, and the general human supremacist's thinking toward nature. Overpopulation most definitely is a problem, perhaps the root of our problems. The main reason effective contraception and reproduction education is not taught to all humans is because of the religious and also people who do not want to face the truth.

  17. Rich

    One-Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka - an excellent antidote to this GMO assault for the rural farmer. Higher productivity per acre, much higher nutrition, only those who don't participate with their farmer at risk of starving.

  18. david

    I suppose the greatest argument I have with this documentary is that it doesn't go far enough in demanding GE stop all experiments for the safety of our planet.

    The excuse that we need to do this to feed an ever growing population is hogwash. We need to stop having so many children and more of us need to work growing food once again. This will solve most of those issues regarding overpopulation.


    1. Cynthia

      If you look at the current situation in the world, you'll find that the people working to grow food have more kids while those of us having less kids don't work at growing food. How strange! Maybe its because local farmers need the cheap labor having kids provides them while the CEOs of developed countries don't have time for kids. When you find a way to reconcile those two sides, then your proposed solution might hold water.

    2. MatthewJamesGoodwin

      How can not wanting your gut to rot, or your immune system to fail be an "ideal", (as in oh wouldn't be great to think so but not possible).
      The ones who have to justify a position on this are the companies pushing this crap. They're the ones who have unrealistic "ideal"!

    3. Jesse

      In many cases, it's education that lowers birth rate, not sending them a bunch of tractors and chemicals. Women that are more educated are likely to have higher economic standing, leading to healthier children, leading to less children. I am an environmental studies major and I have yet to hear of industrialized agriculture lowering the population growth in recently developed countries. Rather, it inflates food supply, which often is shipped overseas anyways to be made into biofuels for our vehicles.

  19. ahmed

    'This is the cause for GMOs to make more with less to feed the OVER population of humans. Ending GMOs would be a grand idea, it would have to include accepting human starvation and the end to the quest to “Feeding the World".'

    With all do respect, I disagree Ddonna. The development and control of GM seeds by a few multinational corporations and their 'terrific terminator seeds' are more likely to blame for the 1 billion people starving and 2 billion who live on less than $2 a day.

    ... the cruel joke is the ones who starve are the rural farmers in the developing world who can't even buy what they grow.

  20. donna

    GMO foods can be scarey. However, farmers & producers are demanded to raise higher yields on fewer acres. Dovelopment encrochment & other events push more land out of producing food. No we can and should not turn every inch of soil into growing food, just as we sould not make all our fields into what used to be. With all things there needs to be balance, we need to keep our production ground producing and leave our natural habitats big and small natural. The greatest inbalance is HUMANS. This is the cause for GMOs to make more with less to feed the OVER population of humans. Ending GMOs would be a grand idea, it would have to include accepting human starvation and the end to the quest to "Feeding the World". Though GMO foods will most likely not be abolished, all consumers must be allowed to know what and where thier food is and comes from.
    Human over population and what we are doing to the earth, genetically modification, FRACKING, deep oil drilling & spilling, paving & building over it, to support this population is terrifying.

  21. Shane

    "there are no un-contaminated canola seeds in Canada now"

    That's truly horrifying.

    1. Amar Mirza

      It's horrifying that six people were stupid enough to vote up your comment.

  22. kamala

    this is one of the few issues that has one right bio-engineering! Where is the common sense of these intelligent scientists? Does greed supersede intelligence?

    1. Cynthia

      I'm not seeing the "answer" here. Where do you think the money is coming from? Consumers want/need what bio-engineering is offering, and unless you can offer an alternative, or prove that deprivation of these goods is the lesser evil (i.e. that there is direct harm to our health resulting from GMOs), your answer is just an ideal.

    2. Admir Efendic

      Don't be daft, the alternative is there, its the wealth redistribution, monopoly and aggressive business practices that are the problem.

    3. charlouill

      an answer? there isnt any. action? start to grow your own if u r in a place u can ie:nz where i am. and try to make sure even if it means netting your own little crop wich is pretty drastic i recon... learn how to keep your seeds and make your own bread, cheese m so on. at the same time we still need to work and earn enough to pay the bills but with a lot of energy and no unessential spending we can do it. a few will. i hope.... we'll see. i am not part of the extreme big brother like fighters but will try what i can not only for myself but because i can and i owe it to the people who don't have the choice! what makes me cry is not that this world might come to an end but it is the slow (relative speed tho) at which the beauty of nature and biodiversity is beeing swept out of this world. arohanui. cha and by the way i have no kids yet ( even tho in mid thirties...) and it works! just have to focus... pretty simple :-)