HotDocs ’22: Into The Weeds

From award-winning director Jennifer Baichwal (WatermarkManufactured Landscapes), Into the Weeds follows Bay Area groundskeeper, Dewayne Johnson. Tasked with using herbicide to kill the area?s weeds, Johnson began to suffer rashes in 2014 that caused serious concern. As the condition continued to worsen, Johnson decided to take legal action against Monsanto, a multi-national agrochemical corporation who claimed that the chemicals he was using were safe, even though his experience proved otherwise.

Into the Weeds is a powerful and terrifying examination of corporate irresponsibility and their willingness to cut corners for the sake of profit. Following one man?s battle against the muscle of multi-national corporation Monsanto, Baichwal keeps an unflinching eye on the facts of the trial. Whereas her filmmaking has made use of many styles over the years, Baichwal takes the opportunity with this film to follow the trial with relentless veracity. By focusing on the evidence unspooling before her, Baichwal allows the viewer to feel as though they are a part of the trial itself. For example, as the viewer listens to the endless stream of testimonies from scientists and doctors that highlight Monsanto?s misconduct, the viewer feels as though they are on the jury. Given the facts and evidence, they are left to decide for themselves whether or not the corporate monster is guilty of misdeeds.

As the facts continue to mount, Weeds becomes a cry for justice, not only for Johnson but for the countless others who have been victimized by the corporate beast. As Johnson mentions more than once, this battle is not about the money. Instead, like many others, his greatest desire is for others to know the truth. This is about justice being served and the truth coming forward. 

Into the Weeds is available at HotDocs ?22. For screening information, click here.

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