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Dust
Directed by Hartmut Bitomsky
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Dust is everywhere and ever-present. A conglomeration of the smallest particles, dust nestles in carpets and in attics. It invades laboratories and settles on artworks. It is blown into the air from factory smokestacks and resides in every raindrop. It is fought and cleared away, but in this Sisyphean task, dust is set in motion and returns even as it is being removed.

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DUST examines the myriad forms and pathways of dust. It pursues dust to the places where it settles and meets the people who contend with it. Armies of cleaning men and women, manufacturers of vacuum cleaners and air cleansing products, housewives, toxic waste disposal workers, and museum custodians.

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In examining the many types of dust, including microscopic particulates invisible to the naked eye, DUST hears from a variety of scientists-botanists, biologists, meteorologists, and astronomers-who investigate the environmental and health consequences of dust, from Sahara sandstorms and the Oklahoma dust bowl of the Thirties to the toxic dust generated by the 9/11 demolition of the WTC towers.

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The phenomenological, philosophical and even artistic aspects of the culture of dust are also explored in interviews with artists and collectors. By closely examining a subject that surrounds us in our daily lives, but to which we rarely pay serious attention, DUST provides us with a new appreciation of the many ways in which dust affects our bodies, our environment, and even the cosmos.

Indeed, by enabling us to take such a close look at particles often invisible to the naked eye, DUST offers us a fresh, new way to see the entire world.

“Eccentric and profoundly informative... Mr. Bitomsky, a German documentarian of impressive patience and patient curiosity, collects dust with scholarly thoroughness and poetic zeal. His film is both an essay and an exposé.” —A.O. Scott, The New York Times

“A pensive study... makes documentary fans appreciate being in the hands of a filmmaker with a good eye and a unique point of view.” —Noel Murray, The Onion

“Fascinating... a cinematic delight... it belongs in every library’s collection. A highly recommended purchase.” —Gerald Notaro, Educational Media Reviews Online

★★ ½ “A slow, meandering but oddly absorbing documentary... A strong optional purchase.” —F. Swietek, Video Librarian

“Manages to be philosophical without seeming pedantic... characterized by clean cinematography, uncluttered compositions, and unceasing dialectic.” —J. Hoberman, The Village Voice

“Beautifully shot... this unusual film will make everybody think a bit more about their environment and how they relate to it... Kolja Raschke’s cinematography is so stunningly composed, it makes dust a more glorious film star than anyone out in Hollywood... DUST is extremely well-produced, leaving a significant and memorable trace.” —Eric Monder, Film Journal International

"A thought-provoking micro-lens through which to view the world ... Part philosophy, part science, DUST amounts to a kind of contemplative poetry. — Nicolas Rapold, Film Comment

"Bitomsky, who is currently working in grimy Berlin after a long stretch teaching cinema in sunny California, has created a work engineered to feast on the anxieties of tidy-minded Teutons. DUST is his meditative, polymorphous essay on the pulverized: that which remains formless, invasive, unprunable and uncategorizable. Bitomsky's dust is not mere meaningless bits of fluffy gray trash, but an itchily anal Freudian antisubstance that pours in through every crack in the German psyche." — Bruce Sterlin, Artforum

"A superb documentary." —Emmanuel Burdeau, Cahiers du cinéma

"Bitomsky perceives his subject as one of nature's 'undefeatable' enemies, and yet one of its most fascinating... plunges into a deeply philosophical area regarding the ontology of dust-what it symbolizes and represents for mankind, and what it tells us about the nature of our world." —Nathan Southern, All Movie Guide

"Underlines how a very narrow focus can broaden one's perspective in the most powerful sense of the word... DUST is brilliant, be it as a philosophical reflection, an aesthetic portrayal, or a concrete educational lesson. It is a film, which, like Bitomsky's other works, bears its greatness in both the coolly perceptive and the poetically invisible." —DOX International Documentary Film Festival Program

"A vanitas for late capitalism... a cold yet compelling study." —Matt Sussman, San Francisco Bay Guardian

Official Selection, 2011 Deutsche Docs: The Contemporary Germany Documentary, Anthology Film Archives
Official Selection, 2008 SilverDocs Documentary Festival
2008 Cinéma du Réel Festival
2007 Venice International Film Festival
2007 Vancouver International Film Festival
  

90 minutes / color
Release: 2008
Copyright: 2007
Sale/Institutional: $298

This DVD is sold above with a license for institutional use and Public Performance rights. It is also available for home video use, click here.

Subject areas:
Art, Cultural Studies, Environment, Environmental Film Festivals, On 35mm, Philosophy, Physics, Science and Technology

Related Links:
Hartmut Bitomsky

Also available for rental on 35mm, please inquire.


Related Titles:
Light, Darkness, and Colours: Using Goethe's Theory of Colors (Zur Farbenlehre) as a point of departure, takes us on a fascinating journey through the universe of colors.

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