DIRT! THE MOVIE (doc, 2009)


dirt Greetings again from the darkness. “Dirt might be more alive than we are.” It could be a tag line for the newest horror flick, but instead it’s one of the key elements to this well presented and informative documentary that’s been around, and discussed, for a few years.

Inspired by William Bryant Logan’s book “Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth“, the three filmmakers roll out interviews from what must be a some kind of Guiness world record in professional diversity: farmers (of course), Mycologist (had to look it up), Professors, a Physicist, a Pastor, an Entomologist, an Anthropologist, Ecologists, a Horticulturalist, a Native American spokesperson, a prison worker, a photographer, a wine expert (who merrily eats dirt and then brags about it) and even a Nobel Laureate. This group would make up quite the dinner party!

Doing as much showing as telling, the film avoids the doom and gloom of so many “destroying the earth” documentaries and instead uses splashes of animation to lighten the mood, while still making serious and important points. It doesn’t, however, miss the chance to cast the negative light on monoculture farming (single crop over large land areas), strip-mining, logging, fertilizers and pesticides.

On the bright side, hope is provided through many isolated efforts of those trying to save our dirt (S.O.D. – see what I did there?)! These aren’t extremists picketing corporate farms, but rather groups of people doing what they can. Rooftop gardening and schoolyard gardens (by ripping out asphalt) are two of the most interesting. A fascinating point is made that if Ethiopia were properly farmed, it could feed all of Africa.

The story of Clyde’s pickup is pretty interesting as well – though I wondered why it never got towed. We get a history lesson on the use of dirt as a building material, and how man’s greed created the Dust Bowl.  After all this, somehow the one thing that is stuck in my head is Dino Pee … the point that all of Earth’s water is continually recycled, and every glass of water we drink goes back millions of years and could contain traces of … well you get the idea.

watch the trailer:

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