When I am under a lot of deadlines, this blog does languish. But I gather that all of you have lots to do, too, and probably don't mind my periodic silences! However, I'm back now with two documentaries for recommended viewing.
The first is called "Dirt! The Movie." What interests me about this film is its mix of worldviews--or, rather, the potential for people with different worldviews to find ideas in this film that they support. This film cites both evolutionary theories and the slogan, "God made dirt and dirt don't hurt." I watched it through the eyes of faith, so I wasn't at all surprised to hear them say that humans are essentially the same as dirt. Or that Earth is the only planet in the universe with a "skin" of dirt. Nevertheless, it's an interesting film to watch because dirt is an element that we take for granted at our peril-- and this documentary presents a clear wake-up call to our neglect. It's informative enough for adults and entertaining enough with its animations to keep the attention of younger children.
The second film is called "Good Fortune," another documentary I saw first on PBS. This film looks at development efforts in Kenya through the eyes of those who are supposed to be helped. One family is negatively impacted by the slum-upgrading effort by the UN. Another family is negatively impacted by a U.S. business that is bringing large-scale rice farming to the region. As the film portrays it, neither side really seems to be listening to the people whose lives they are affecting. (Which reminds me of one of the key points of the book I reviewed about poverty alleviation, When Helping Hurts.) PopMatters provides a solid synopsis of the film and I've included the trailer below. (The film identifies the U.S. business leaders as Christians and pits their views of progress against the experience of the residents. I looked to see if this business has posted any comment about the film, but found none.)
I recommend watching this film because we don't often get to hear extended interviews with those who are the focus of so many relief efforts. It is a well-crafted film and helps to shake up our assumptions.