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Plastic Bag (2009)

Plastic Bag (2009) – the plastic bag with the voice of legendary filmmaker Werner Herzog drifts across the USA, to finally arrive at the ocean!

Plastic Bag (2009) – In a not too distant future, a Plastic Bag (voice of Werner Herzog) goes on an epic journey in search of its lost Maker, wondering if there is any point to life without her. Abandoned by his maker, the plastic bag drifts across the landscapes of rural America (North Carolina), to finally arrive at his final destination: The ocean. Or as plastic bags call it: The vortex. The Bag encounters strange creatures, brief love in the sky, a colony of prophetic torn bags on a fence and the unknown. To be with its own kind, the Bag goes deep under the oceans into 500 nautical miles of spinning garbage known as the North Pacific Trash Vortex. Will our Plastic Bag be able to forget its Maker there?

Ramin Bahrani is one of the world’s most promising filmmakers right now – his first three features, Man Push Cart, Chop Shop, and Goodbye Solo, reveal an artist at work who is interested in showing lives as they are, or how they should be, even in the unfortunate circumstances the characters are in (working a cart, living in a Queens ghetto, readying to die). With Plastic Bag, one might think this is going to be a short-film version of what Wes Bentley’s character did in American Beauty, filming “the most beautiful thing in the world”. But it’s deeper than that, more touching. As silly or gimmicky the idea of a short film with a plastic bag as the central character might sound it works perfectly. Not only does Werner Herzog manage to make you care about a piece of plastic, but the film also makes you think. The plastic bag becomes a symbol for humanity. Like the plastic bag we can feel lost and abandoned to ourselves on this planet. The bag is looking for his maker, or in other words: God. Is there a God? Why did he create us? Why did he put us in such a hostile place? These are some of the questions that Ramin Baharni’s film asks. It takes a rare eye and heart to make something this moving, a saga of a bag that, by way of a ‘voice’ by Werner Herzog (that unmistakable Bavarian soul put into it). The film comes full circle. A film like this one works perfectly as a short, because no matter how much you love Herzog’s voice and German accent a 90 minutes version would be tiring and wear out its original premise. Plastic Bag works so well, because it presents us with strangely haunting imagery of desolated and abandoned places. Kjartan Sveinsson’s (of Sigur Ros) music turns the plastic bag’s journey becomes almost a spiritual voyage, with mystical overtones and epic proportions.

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Directed by Ramin Bahrani. Starring: Werner Herzog, Barbara Weetman

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