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DUST (STAUB) (director/writer: Hartmut Bitomsky; cinematographer: Kolja Raschke; Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Heino Deckert; Icarus Films; 2007-Germany-in German with English subtitles)

“A little too dry for my taste.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

German documentary filmmakerHartmut Bitomsky (“B-52)thoughtfully tackles the subject of dust, the smallest particles visible that are found everywhere and are ever-present. Bitomsky goes mindfucking philosophical about the fact that no matter how much we clean, we cannot rid ourselves of dust. He has bemused fun following a compulsive German housewife thoroughly cleaning her apartment once a week just to get a kick her apartment is clean for a short time.

Bitomsky points out that without dust no film would exist, but that too much dust can destroy a film. The “good” dust is shown as paint pigments and gold dust, while the bad dust is from breathing in asbestos (a cause of lung cancer) or from a natural disaster like the Dust Bowl taking place in five southwestern states in the 1930s or man-made disasters like the toxic dust released as a result of the 9/11 attack or during the Iraq War how depleted uranium in the war zone infiltrated some immune systems of American soldiers, which caused their wives to have babies with birth defects.

The director interviews ‘lecture happy’ scientists and observes professional cleaners on the job, and takes us inside industrial plants to see how they manage their dusting. The dialectic film gets over as a seriousessay and meditation on the philosophical meaning of dust — pointing out our solar system can’t exist without dust, and that we must learn to live with dust even though in some cases it’s bad for our health and must be dealt with.

Though Bitomsky has a good eye for detail and does a decent job veering from talking heads to narration, I found it all a little too dry for my taste.

REVIEWED ON 10/15/2011 GRADE: B-

Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”