Plastic Bag (2009)
Dir. Ramin Bahrani
A plot gimmick, especially dwelling within short films, can be a dangerous thing. Many have attempted a grandiose statement using an ordinary object as focal point (and in this case, narrator) and metaphor for a message often too broad to adequately contextualize within the short film format.
Those films also don’t feature the incomparable voice of Werner Herzog. Plastic Bag, directed by Goodbye Solo‘s Ramin Bahrani, follows a plastic bag from its first use, on through a period of quietly beautiful moments with its “master”, then through a desperate journey to find its master once again. Whereas the first few minutes feel slightly overwrought and gimmicky, the preceding journey become wonderfully transcendent, beautifully shot and realized, providing some great human insight into the world of objects that we created. Some have likened the film to A.I., which is more than fitting, as the journey does not feel unlike the loneliness Spielberg encapsulated so brilliantly. In the end though, Plastic Bag is much more about the quiet moments of discovery and wonderment, made all the more poignant by the emotive and tender Herzog narration.
I’d also be lying if I told you I haven’t looked at the plastic bags floating around the same way lately…
Here’s Plastic Bag, courtesy of Futurestates, who are hosting an array of other shorts at the moment. Enjoy.