Review: ‘Dust’

Dispassionate disquisition is taken to the extreme in Hartmut Bitomsky's humorless docu on the powder of daily life, "Dust."

Dispassionate disquisition is taken to the extreme in Hartmut Bitomsky’s humorless docu on the powder of daily life, “Dust.” Coolly presenting a panoply of professional and amateur dust hunters, each duller than the next, Bitomsky (“B-52”) analyzes humanity’s fixation with specks often invisible to the naked eye, but his overly serious, unmodulated narration is likely to produce more titters or snores than studied fascination. Even fests are unlikely to vacuum this up, though Euro cable may collect the remains.

“Dust is the smallest object a film can deal with,” Bitomsky quietly drones, an especially fitting point considering the atoms of dust lit by the projectionist’s throw. Subjects include an obsessive housewife who fights against particle intrusion; an air-filter salesman; scientists analyzing the dust from the Twin Towers; and a woman who classifies and mounts lint bunnies as if they were butterflies. Bitomsky tries to encourage viewers to ponder the quixotic nature of a battle that can’t be won, but while serious topics such as depleted uranium dust shouldn’t be swept under the carpet, there’s surely a better way of engaging with the information than Bitomsky’s dry-as-dust narration.


Germany - Switzerland


A filmproduktion, Big Sky Film, WDR (Germany)/Dschoint Ventschr Filmproduktion (Switzerland) production, in association with Arte, Schweizer Fernsehen. (International sales: Deckert Distribution, Leipzig.) Produced by Heino Deckert. Co-producers, Werner Schweizer, Hartmut Bitomsky. Directed, written by Hartmut Bitomsky.


Camera (color/B&W), Kolja Raschke; editor, Theo Bromin. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (Horizons), Sept. 3, 2007. Running time: 94 MIN.

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