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Soil documentary screened Jan. 5

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The film “Symphony of the Soil” will be shown at 1 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 5, at the Sebastiani Theatre, 476 First St. E., Sonoma.

“Symphony of the Soil” is a 104-minute documentary feature film that explores the complexity and mystery of soil. Filmed on four continents and sharing the voices of some of the world’s most esteemed soil scientists, farmers and activists, the film portrays soil as a protagonist of the planetary story.

Using a mix of art and science, the film shows that soil is a complex living organism, the foundation of life on earth. Yet most people are soil-blind and “treat soil like dirt.” Through the knowledge and wisdom revealed in this film, the audience can come to respect, even revere, this miraculous substance, and appreciate that treating the soil right can help solve some of the most pressing environmental problems.

In addition to the feature film, there are several short films, “Sonatas of the Soil,” that delve deeply into soil-related topics, and several short clips, Grace Notes, that are available to stream on the film’s website.

“Symphony of the Soil” has been well received by audiences and critics alike.

A critic’s pick review in the New York Times this fall praises “Symphony of the Soil,” saying, “Unfolding with gentle joy and an unexpected beauty, this ode to the miracle of the Earth’s topmost layer gives us a newfound respect for the ground beneath our feet.”

The first third of “Symphony of the Soil is devoted to soil science: the birth of soil, the life cycle of soil, the physical components of soil, the soil orders, the microorganisms that cycle nutrients, soil and plants, and the interrelationship of the many members of the soil community, including humans.

The second third of the film focuses on the human relationship with soil, especially the use of soil as an agricultural medium.

The third section of the film explores big picture ideas such as soil and climate change, water use, health and a variety of other topics that support the case for treating soil with care.

The film ultimately raises consciousness about how humans think about and treat soil.