The documentary (or "essay film") "The Forgotten Space," which is a recent DVD release from uber-awesome distributor of "innovative and provocative" documentaries Icarus Films, comprehensively shows the route (and related negative impacts therof) that products travel from their point of origin to our homes. Needless to say, the film shows that the profit margin always takes precedence over humanitarian concerns.
Filmmakers Allan Sekula and Noel Burch explain that the titular environment is the oceans and go on to state that 90-percent of the cargo in the world travels that route on the way to our homes. The exploration of that topic includes numerous interviews with poorly compensated members of crews of freighters and footage of their living and communal spaces. We further get to see a quite nice facility in Hong Kong that offers them (and their counterparts on leisure ships) desirable accommodations at affordable prices when they are not in the forgotten space.
The following YouTube clip of the "Space" trailer provides good exposition regarding the subject matter in a style that reflects the movie being an essay film.
An opening segment in "Space" examines an earlier stage in the transportation process. Sekula and Burch tell us about a new railway line in the Netherlands that benefits moving freight at the cost of the farmland and homes in the rural area through which it runs. This impact includes the line running through the middle of one such farm.
We also get information regarding the impact of the well-known shift of manufacturing to China from other parts of Asia. This analysis extends beyond the oft-told tales of the trade imbalance between that country and the United States and the increasing demand for consumer goods in China. We further see how other economies that are losing out to China are adapting and how China is facing a similar threat to its recent prosperity.
Closer to home, we learn of manipulations that disadvantage truckers and see a tent city for which questionable business practices are responsible.
The effectively presented message of all this is that keeping prices low has a much higher human cost than even many enlightened and caring people realize. On top of this, we learn that manufacturers also have it out for the consuming public.
The DVD bonus is the booklet with additional insight that most Icarus titles include. In this case, Burch discusses both the concept of the essay film and the evolution of shipping practices.
Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Space" is encourage to either email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.com.