DIRT! THE MOVIE is an astonishing, humorous and substantial look at the glorious and unappreciated ground beneath our feet.
Dirt feeds us and gives us shelter. Dirt holds and cleans our water. Dirt heals us and makes us beautiful. Dirt regulates the earth s climate. Why do we humans ignore, abuse, and destroy our most precious living natural resource? Consider the results of such behavior: Mass starvation, drought, floods and global warming.
Narrated by Jamie Lee Curtis, DIRT! THE MOVIE tells the story of humans trying to re-connect to dirt the living skin of the earth. Traveling from the vineyards of California to the plains of Kenya, DIRT! reveals how repairing our relationship with dirt can create new possibilities for all life on earth.
We're talking dirt! Not soil, not earth, not loam, not dust, just plain old dirt, which this lively and enlightening documentary asserts is the planet's protective skin that contains all those other things, but also a whole bunch more. In fact, Dirt! The Movie
was inspired by Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth
by William Bryant Logan, a book whose title pretty much describes the movie's narrative course in explaining how the dirt we use for good or ill, whether in the service of spoilage or manipulation, is a much more delicate and essential bio-resource than many of us thought. There's a lot of information about dirt that gets tossed about, and it's bagged together with some lovely animation segments that are explanatory or allegorical. Unfortunately there's one animated misstep in the form of a cutesy little cartoon lump meant to anthropomorphize dirt as a whole and as its uncountable individual molecules too. But ignoring the doe-eyed dirt glob, the people and issues that are humanized with interview segments from a variety of folks who really know their dirt are truly revealing. Dirt!
is a globetrotter too. We visit locations from Africa and India, to Los Angeles, Brazil, and the South Bronx. The gist is to show the bad ways we can and are destroying dirt, from strip-mining and mountaintop removal, to deforestation and continuing the agri-killing practice of monoculture--growing only one crop over and over again across huge areas of land (dirt). The evidence that monoculture caused the dust bowl has only vaguely been taken to heart, and the message that dirt heals the earth is still widely ignored. A couple in Brazil talk about the correlation between human degradation and environmental degradation, which the film glaringly documents in other places like India, where farmer suicides occur regularly because the dirt is going away. There's also Andy Lipkis, celebrity dirt lover and founder of the environmental organization TreePeople, who explains how the same dirt has been around since forever and it's the only dirt we're ever going to have. To demonstrate dirt's critical function on all levels, even as purifier of our ancient and similarly endangered water supply, Lipkis takes a sip and says, "I just drank dinosaur pee." Dirt! The Movie
is similarly forthright and illuminating about why we shouldn't just kick dirt around anymore. --Ted Fry