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The Salt Of The Earth

10 May

Salt Of The Earth – directed by Wim Wenders & Juliano Ribeiro Salgado. Documentary. 110 minutes Black and White and Color 2015.

★★★★★

The Story: Sabastiäo Salgado, young Brazilian economist in London picks up a camera and becomes the world’s greatest photographer of indigenous peoples.

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What an eye!.

And what an eye he gives us to see what he means us to see!

Black and white photography differs from color photography in that color photography tends to reach out to the viewer, while black and white photography asks the viewer to enter in.

So we find the world’s depths reflected over and over again in this display of the renowned photographer’s black and white work. We see him from the time he starts out through his many long travels until the present time when he is 71, man of great feeling, a big masculine presence, and an undeviating talent.

We see him and his pictures from various trips to Africa, the drought regions, the refugee cities, the genocide roads. We see his photographs of the spectacular African gold mines with their ant-like workers scrambling by the thousands up and down quarry walls. We see New Guinea males with their penis cones dancing in the sunny heights, and we see the Amazonian tribe of naked Indians with their lip spikes hunting sloths high in the jungle trees.

The work of this this man is clearly inspired by the muse of his smart and able wife, and certain expeditions, to film Siberian walruses, for instance, are shot by his grown son. But the main presence for him is the German film-maker Wim Wenders.

Wenders talks to him, and Salgado talks to us back, in full close-up. Wenders himself creates with those close-ups a black and white depth of investigation rarely to be found in film, or in any human being, for that matter.

The film’s final sequence offers a complete surprise, which I shall no further hint at. But even without it, one has the feeling of being in the company of a human who has spent a worthwhile and loving life.

 
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Posted in DIRECTED BY Wim Wenders, DOCUMENTARY, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

 
 
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