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Available for rent


France, 1954

Original music : Jean Wiener Production : Armor Films

Programmed by Julia Pinget




Set to an off-camera commentary, images scroll by of natural dust – star dust, saline dust, pollen, etc. But soon they give way to shots of industrial sites generating dangerous dust: coke and lime ovens, companies working with flax, porcelain, charcoal factories, cement factories and so on. The accent is on the risks of silicosis (seen under a microscope, x-rays of lungs affected by silicosis) and the importance of individual and collective protective measures such as masks, dust-filters, dusting down, etc. In “Dust of Life”, Georges Franju observes the effect of dusts on human health.

Tënk's opinion

In 1954, Franju made this film commissioned by France’s National Safety Institute. It focuses on silica dust, which, with hindsight, mirrors the problems of another dust, asbestos, along with many others. Who would’ve thought that in January 2021, crystalline silica dust would be classed as carcinogenic and lead to protective measures for workers being implemented? “Modernisation is fighting what it partly helped to create” he tells us.
In the way it’s made, the film bears witness to its era: the director unfurls a presentation-poem that savours the didactic and sensitive quality of the commentary. A blend of science and poetry that examines humankind’s place in the environment, the heart of this reflection as seen in the final sequence: the explosion of a nuclear bomb. The radioactive dust that spreads everywhere shows the extent of our capacity to destroy ourselves at the same time as destroying our surroundings.

Julia Pinget

Item 1 of 4
Item 1 of 4

Item 1 of 4