[Date Prev][Date Next][Date Index]

E-M:/ "Blue Vinyl" an award-winning toxins/comedy,a success in East Lansing


Last night nearly 200 people were on hand to witness Mid-Michigan's premier showing of "Blue Vinyl," a Roger and Me - type odyssey about a very dangerous environmental toxin -- polyvinyl chloride (PVC).  The film was the featured event at last night's 6th annual East Lansing Film Festival. Blue Vinyl, which won the cinematography award at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival, takes filmmaker Judith Helfand from her Long Island home to Lake Charles, Louisiana, home of America's vinyl manufacturing capital, and beyond, in search of answers about the nature of the ubiquitous toxin.

In a parallel fashion to Michael Moore, who sought answers to the plight of his home town, Flint, Michigan (failing to achieve his film-long quest of an audience with General Motor's CEO Roger Smith, but along the way telling us much of what we needed to know about GM), Helfand carries a piece of blue vinyl from her parents' newly "re-sided" home to get answers about this seemingly benign cure-all for many suburban homes. The result is a sobering, uncomfortable yet humorous portrait of a corrupt industry and its many victims.


Helfand drove to East Lansing after her flight was canceled from Chicago, and arrived just as the film was ending. She received a standing ovation from the crowd. "I drove here with a fellow from Algeria and we had a fascinating talk about [French imperialism] and the struggle against it, but then we got lost, and the only thing we talked about then was where is Lake Lansing road?" Helfand was on hand at a reception in her honor after the film.

The film was sponsored, in large part, by the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office along with environmental groups like Urban Options and the Mid-Michigan Environmental Action Council. It was well-noted that this was an important new alliance between builders and environmentalists.

I recommend this film to everyone, for classroom use or other organizing purposes. It was simply fantastic. Good job everyone!

Brian McKenna