In style, Hartmut Bitomsky’s Dust is a kissing cousin of Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s Our Daily Bread and Michael Glawogger’s Workingman’s Death, but this “inquiry into one of life’s smallest realities” (per the film’s press notes) never feels philosophically uncommitted, nor does it scan as neo-colonialist exploitation. Bitomsky minimally narrates his documentary exposé, never daring the sly sense of humor and self-deprecation of another harsh-voiced German, Werner Herzog, and often risking pretense: “The collected garbage of our contemporary society, burned, charred, scorched into dust” is how he describes the sediment that wrecked havoc on the lungs of 9/11 firefighters. Mostly, though, he leaves the poetic observations to his talking heads, who describe dust as an “aesthetic problem,” “sediment of creation” and “trace of a fundament denial.” From sky to ground, Bitomsky follows the path of a particle that measures only a tenth of a millimeter and is just about perceptible to the naked eye, interviewing everyone from cleaning ladies to chemical engineers committed to obliterating or studying the dust around them. A meditative rumination on that which is pulverized, drifts around us in the wind and our clothes and breath, comes down on us in vastly different shapes and colors, the film leaves an impression at once horrifying and ecstatic. Essentially a hypochondriac’s worst nightmare, it reminds us of Mother Nature’s totalitarianism.
- Icarus Films
- 90 min
- Hartmut Bitomsky
- Hartmut Bitomsky
- Slant is reaching more readers than ever before, but advertising revenue across the Internet is falling fast, hitting independently owned and operated publications like ours the hardest. We’ve watched many of our fellow media sites fall by the way side in recent years, but we’re determined to stick around.
We’ve never asked our readers for financial support before, and we’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees. If you like what we do, however, please consider becoming a Slant patron.
You can also make a one-time donation via PayPal: