What is the meaning of life for a plastic bag? Okay, admittedly that seems like an absurd question as everyone knows a plastic bag is meant to carry goods and, well, that’s about it. But if you will, try for a moment to imagine life from the perspective of a plastic bag. No? You aren’t going for it. Okay fine. No need to try and imagine on your own, there’s a great short film available online that will help you to imagine life from such an unusual and non-living perspective. In the recent short, Plastic Bag, director Ramin Bahrani (Goodbye Solo and Man Push Cart) portrays a brown-colored plastic bag’s journey from “creation” to the end of life, which for a plastic bag is essentially never. This existential film provokes an unexpectedly evocative sense of sympathy for a plastic bag whose creator failed to consider eternal life’s downside: eventually, necessarily, nihilism will set in. Legendary director Werner Herzog is the voice of the plastic bag.
The film is especially interesting in that it artistically drives home the following point: there are environmental consequences each time a plastic bag is used. (The point of the film is the same as the point behind the recent five cent tax implemented by the D.C. government for plastic or paper bags at all retail and grocery stores.) So, while the film never resolves the meaning of life for the non-living plastic bag, it does provide an important life lesson for the rest of us. And an entertaining, beautiful film, too.
Watch the film here.