And then I watched this short film. Plastic Bag, by Ramin Bahrani, traces the epic, existential journey of a plastic bag (voiced by Werner Herzog) searching for its lost “maker”, the woman who took it home from the store and eventually discarded it. Along the way, it encounters strange creatures, experiences love in the sky, grieves the loss of its beloved maker, and tries to grasp its purpose in the world.
In the end, the wayward plastic bag wafts its way to the ocean, into the tides, and out into the Pacific Ocean trash vortex — a promised nirvana where it will settle among its own kind and gradually let the memories of its maker slip away.
Far from upbeat, this film left me hopeful. If people take the 19 minutes to watch it, they’ll most likely be moved to make the switch to sustainable, reusable shopping bags. To those who already appreciate the sad life of a plastic bag, I hope you’ll share this with others.
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FUTURESTATES is a series of 11 fictional mini-features exploring possible future scenarios through the lens of today’s global realities.