By the time Michael Reynolds graduated from architecture school, some 35 years ago, he had already decided that the field “as it stood then, was worthless.” So he moved to New Mexico and began experimenting with houses that exist entirely “off the grid” and are built mostly from recycled materials. He ended up creating several communities, a group of followers, and trouble: Taos County’s planning department cracked down in 1997, and Reynolds’ battle for sustainable architecture shifted to the state legislature. His legal success was limited, but an invitation from the post-tsunami Andaman Islands, located in the Bay of Bengal, was more effective. Reynolds and his crew built houses there out of mud and used plastic bottles, capturing rain for both water and cooling. Director Oliver Hodge deftly shifts from a character study of a neo-Jeffersonian populist—Reynolds thinks cities are “dangerous area[s] of chaos”—to an object lesson in sustainability. But Hodge also recognizes that the embrace of Reynolds’ ideas in a catastrophic Third World landscape doesn’t guarantee they’ll be accepted in a country that can afford resource-burning McMansions. (Reynolds will attend the first showing.)