Plastic Bag by Ramin Bahrani

To some of you, this piece may feel out of character in relation to our regularly posted content. However, there are universal lessons in storytelling and character-development that had to be shared, independent of medium. As I’ve personally been advocating a return to storytelling and simplicity in execution, this short hits the mark.

My discovery of this piece was on the blog of Ross McDonnell, documentary film maker, photo journalist and friend. So, the rest of the piece will pick up with his post:

Proving that almost anything with the words Werner and Herzog in the synopsis probably gets my seal of approval, for your viewing pleasure comes this unbelievably beautiful short film ‘Plastic Bag‘ by wunderkind director Ramin Bahrani.

I hold my hand up and admit that I haven’t seen any of Bahrani’s previous feature length efforts, Man Push Cart, Chop Shop or Goodbye Solo but all have been highly praised. Roger Ebert named Bahrani as ‘Director of the Decade’ for what it’s worth.

Plastic Bag is that rare beauty, a short film that is perfectly suited to the short form. The film is kind of ‘Wall-E’ meets Herzog’s own ‘Lessons of Darkness’ and is poetic, uplifting and timely all at the same time. It’s social message touches on that black hole of human waste that no-one seems to want to dredge the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ alluding to the issue without beating us over the head with it or resorting to any kind of environmental hyperbole or hysteria.

Plastic Bag is part of the recently launched Futurestates project, a series of short films by established and emerging directors that aims to ‘present a different filmmakers vision of American society in the not too distant future, fusing an exploration of social issues with elements of speculative science fiction.’ Check em out…

About the author

Matt Lambert

NYC / London



While it’s a very well done piece…I feel like this is the E True Hollywood story of the plastic bag from “American Beauty”

Lilian Darmono

Brilliant. Could be a tad shorter though.. and I am not sure about that repetitive piano music in the BG…


Glad to see PLASTIC BAG getting this kind of attention. I myself found it to be a bit long, but ultimately a great short!

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