Inviting and tasty, chewing gum is a habit for millions of people, attracted by the different shapes and colors. Chewing-gum is one of the most consumed product in the world, but only few people know the many faces hidden behind those that apparently seem harmless sweetened butts.
The charismatic director Andrew Nisker investigates on the secrets of chewing-gum. His documentary Dark Side of The Chew obtained a Special Mention in the “One Hour” competition at CinemAmbiente 2015 Festival in Turin. The movie was also selected for the FIFE in Paris, the Green Film Festival In Seoul, the Planet in Focus Film Festival in Toronto and for the Dominican Republic Environmental Film Festival, also members of Green Film Network.
With a 360-degree approach, the movie addresses the issue of chewing-gum in its various aspects. Their origin, about 9.000 years ago, their boom on the market and in advertising, their role of status symbol of the American dream.
To emerge, however, is a complex and dark side: the strong impact of chewing-gum on health and environment. A shocking and worrying reality, confirmed by the evidence the director gathered among different experts, doctors, scientists and producers.
We all have happened to chew gum, but the majority of us ignores that their composition is largely similar to the one of plastics, because of the presence of synthetic polymers with dangerous effects. In addition to this, often they have aspartame, a sweetener that many laboratory tests have indicated as carcinogenic. To the apparent feeling of pleasure and relaxation, gum opposes a concrete negative influence on our body.
In the same way, our environment is considerably affected by the consumption of chewing gum, the second most common type of waste in the world. It is a product not readily biodegradable and invisibly present in our social spaces. In the streets, in schools, on public transports and on the surfaces of various objects, the traces of chewing-gum are everywhere, mostly because of many citizens’ rudeness.
Removing butts involves large costs, even economic. Their impact reflects on nature and society, and comes in various ways.
A mosaic of aspects that the movie composes effectively and dynamically, with a funny and light-hearted language. As a simple chewing-gum hides a dark side, so the film, in its simplicity and lightness, brings out serious and deep sobering issues.
The statements of the involved parties, the scientific images and collected data show the figure of the gum as an entity that can escape from our control, to drown populations and cities under its sticky, colored, devastating fluid.
The director’s journey moves in a maze of dark paths, but the search of the dark side ends with the discovery of a light of hope. In the authenticity of the Mexican jungle there are some people who still continue producing chewing-gum with natural methods, creating a not harmful and easily degradable organic product, that has nothing to do with the gums of large industries.
It’s important to start from here, from nature, to build the foundations for a more careful and responsible consumption.