The Wanderers

Seeking Signs of Civilization--and Artistic Sustenance--at the Sundance Film Festival

Spanning the globe in search of PVC-production horrors, the filmmakers travel to Lake Charles, Louisiana ("the vinyl capital of America") to discover evidence of overwhelming environmental hazards and corporate concealment of the facts; and to Venice, Italy, where 31 vinyl-industry executives stand trial for manslaughter in a landmark case. And then Helfand literally brings it all back home, struggling to convince her obstinate mother and father to replace the vinyl siding on their home with an environmentally sound product as a symbolic gesture. While the merits of making an ultimately upbeat film about a largely unknown global crisis are arguable, the optimism isn't entirely unearned in this case. In the end, the message of Blue Vinyl is that if you can radicalize your parents--or, even tougher, the parent company--then maybe anything is possible.

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