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a precious and terrible gift
Iwould10 November 2014
Wim Wenders being Wim Wenders, he has nothing left to prove about movie making. So most of this documentary is simply made by the pictures of Sebastião Salgado, and by close-ups of his face: he is looking at the images (but through the screen at the same time), while telling and explaining to the audience the genesis and the reasons of his work. It is very simple, yes, but at the same time it's extremely powerful. So powerful that, after a while, I was under the impression that those still b/w images were alive: crowds in the mass scenes seemed to move, people in portraits looked like they were going to turn their heads, and talk.

This movie should be shown in schools. The work of Salgado has testified some of the major (but lesser known) disasters of recent world history, none of which came within ear of the western world - much more interested in the brilliant lives of the fashion victims than in the tragic fate of the casualties of famines and wars.

Nietzsche famously once wrote: "When you look into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you". Salgado had the guts to stare to the abyss, without blinking - but clicking. He did it to give to others the opportunity to know, and possibly to better understand the meaning of the term "humanity". Some of Sebastião Salgado images are horrible, but it is by far more horrible to think that without him those horrors would have happened with nobody to remember about them. His work creates grounds for memory, and memory grows some chances for hope, and hope give us and some reason to believe in a better future for our troubled planet.
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I loved this movie!
ieditavid31 October 2014
Very touching and beautiful doc about life, love, loss, despair, redemption and it shows how, by sheer faith, you can build a forest. Literally. The beautiful photos tell a troubling yet touching story that will make you angry at mankind. By the end you will find yourself believing again and hoping that one day you could be so humble as to reflect on the negative influences in your life and thus be able to change those nativities into positive reactions . You are probably not doing enough for the world around you and when you see how easy it is to make real change, hopefully it will be a call to action. If a picture tells 1000 words, then this film tells 1000 stories.
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A both intellectually and emotionally appealing journey through photos
GregForstner30 December 2014
Living in an age where Hollywood seems to believe that churning out CGI-promoted explosion orgies is the only recipe for success, this quiet documentary about the career of Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado may disappoint some audiences. Basically you only get to see the Salgado's photos and Salgado's face commenting them and telling the stories that are lurking behind. Most of the movie is made in black and white. The effect could not have been greater. Not only are the viewers stunned by the visual brilliance of the pictures and their monumental qualities but they also learn a lot about the tragedies of famines and genocides that took place in Africa in the 1980s and 1990s. To be honest, these tragedies of unbelievable scope are widely forgotten in the western world. Salgado leads us into the darkest heart of humankind where absolute folly and chaos reign instead of rational judgment. Graduating as an economist, Salgado embarked on a decades-long journey as a photographer, investing all the money of his young family in professional equipment. I think it is unjust to consider him someone who makes his living by showing the misery of mankind, like some reviewer has suggested. If Salgado hadn't been there and clicked his camera, we would not have these photos now which give testimony to what really happened in Africa or Kuwait. Just think about the risks that the young father took on when he was travelling through famine-starved desert or civil war-torn regions! Apart from that, this fine documentary does not leave behind its audience in desperation; Wim Wenders deliberately ends this homage on a harmonious chord by showing a successful reforestation project in Brazil which was initiated by Salgado.
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Le Sel de la Terre
i_ianchev22 March 2015
The lines on his head were deep as the lines of the earth...

Wim Wenders' new masterpiece is a visually stunning lesson about our planet and our lives. We, the people, are both the salt and the scorch of the Earth...

Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and Wenders have made a thoughtful emotional journey through the life and work of the famous photographer Sebastião Salgado. Both his personal and professional journeys are depicted through the photographs of the talented humanist. The adventurous journey is becoming a discovery of the human nature and after that of nature's condition. A masterful revelation this picturesque travel envisions the marks which we leave on our planet and the traces which we imprint during our stay here.

It is important to note that the overall feeling of this movie is beautifully embodied by the soundtrack as well. And this feeling is surreal - a deep voyage into darkness and light - into the power of drawing with a camera. As a photographer too, I am once again amazed how a single picture can foretell, tell and commit to a certain topic. A person, a landscape, an overall feeling - this is what we get from this film.

Intricately constructed and simplistically presented, the meaning behind these shapes and colors is not ambiguous - we are the spice which could make the Earth both a better and worse place. It is very interesting to see this whole story told in French. I felt a certain feeling mystery and wisdom throughout the whole narrative. And although some scenes were striking, one can only feel humility watching this.

I strongly recommend that every photographer, who is striving to create, should see this movie. This documentary is very much a universal message of the ever repeating cycle of anger - despair - hope. This honorable look at the artist and his power which can transform people and nature is mesmerizing. As a conclusion I truly hope that we can learn from our mistakes and not repeat them all over again. Because when you immerse your soul into the soil, you cannot stay away from the imminent introspection which comes after that...
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Beautiful but be aware.
casagenovia7 April 2015
It's a beautiful movie, though some parts were absolutely terrifying to watch.

There was no indication after watching several trailers of what lay ahead in terms of the suffering it very graphically depicted. It was almost about half the length of the film as well.

For most who are calloused, you will probably be fine. But be aware, those who are sensitive. It took me about 2 days to recover from the haunting images and pain they brought. I am glad I saw it though, because I received at least three wonderfully inspiring experiences from it:)
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The Life and Work of Brazilian Photographer Sebastiao Salgado
graupepillard6 May 2015

A documentary on the photographer, Sebastiao Salgado's passion for exposing worlds that are hidden from our view as well as the undercurrents of man's greed, violence and inhumanity - all through what co-director Wim Wenders explains is the process of " drawing with light." The other director is Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, the photographer's son. For many years, I have been beguiled by Salgado's black and white imagery, particularly as source material and inspiration for many of my own late 1980s pastels. His representations are stark and at the same time filled with an expanse of tones - from the deep darkness of coal to the blinding whites which shine with the force of incorporeality; a range of imperceptibly varied grays sandwiched in-between - all breathtakingly beautiful and often reduced to abstract patternings which are in danger of overtaking his subjects, but Salgado is a master at balancing form and content.

I was particularly moved by his photographs of the fierce deprivation that droughts and famine had wreaked on Sub- Saharan Africa - particularly Ethiopia. Because Salgado exposed situations that many people were not aware of, his photos drilled a space for perception into our consciousness. Salgado has traveled to over 100 countries - projects often lasted years and the resulting books include OTHER AMERICAS, WORKERS, SAHEL - THE END OF THE ROAD, MIGRATIONS, Africa, and most recently GENESIS - the book that became his respite after years away from his native environs, witnessing the globe's devastation, including chronicling the genocide in Rawanda and the Congo. By the late 1990's he was heartbroken: "We humans are a terrible animal; we are extremely violent…Our history is a history of war; it's an endless story…My soul was sick…I no longer believed in anything, in any salvation for the human species." (Quotes from Kenneth Turan's review in LA Times.)

THE SALT OF THE EARTH invites us to enter Salgado's personal sphere; we meet his beloved wife Leila, the enduring relationship of his life, the editor of his photographs; the mother of Juliano and Rodrigo - the youngest born with Down syndrome; the compassion and love that unites the entire family in their own personal struggles with domesticity, and the enormous achievement of reclaiming the cattle ranch that was once Salgado's home near the town of Aimores in Brazil's state of Minas Gerais. Memories of the fecund greenery and waterfalls were incised into Sebastiao's childhood recollections and when he returned in the 1990's his homeland was an environmental disaster - dry and parched.

Salgado, his spirit quenched by regarding the pillage, and spoliation around the universe was re-invigorated by Leila's dream of planting a forest in Brazil starting with a few trees and "returning the property to its natural state of subtropical rainforest…and in April 1998 they founded the Instituto Terra, an environmental organization…which has now been declared a Private Natural Heritage Reserve, some 17,000 acres of deforested and badly eroded land… have undergone a remarkable metamorphosis…More than four million seedlings native to Brazil's Atlantic Forest have been raised in the institute's own nursery…" * This resuscitation propelled Salgado to travel again focusing on the beauties of the planet, resulting in his latest book GENESIS. ( *About us -The Instituto Terra.)

The documentary uses Salgado's majestic photographs interspersing them with site visits to previously unrecorded locations, including old color footage; using his voice and conversations to great effect. We get a sense of the quiet strength of this man, his commitment to justice and the deep suffering that his vision extracts with the lens of a camera. The plethora of interchangeable living beings moving about silhouetted against the background of clouds billowing in the infinite skies, underscore the brevity of time and existence. We are only here for a short interval and Salgado's output is a plea for respect, justice and accommodation among the men/women/animals and the frangible cosmos we all inhabit.
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Thoughtful and Insightful
tao90227 April 2015
A fascinating Wim Wenders documentary about Brazilian photographer, Sabastiao Salgado, detailing his life, and varied photographic projects from around the world. Wonderfully filmed, imaginatively edited.

Mainly known as a social photographer, Sabastiao Salgado has documented and revealed the horrors of war, famine and poverty. His travels around the world have accessed hidden brutalities and exposed injustices.

Perhaps as a respite from the human extremes he has witnessed he has recently moved on to projects about the environment. The film features many of his photos and numerous interviews with insights into his personal life.
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pedrocalheirosmenezes10 June 2015
"We are a ferocious animal. We humans are terrible animals. Our history is a history of wars. It's an endless story, a tale of madness." – Sebastião Salgado

Directed by Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado this documentary goes through the life of the photographer Sebastião Salgado, from its childhood times in Minas Gerais until his current role as an activist and founder of Instituto Terra. Not following the typical poetic and metaphorical style, and sometimes pretentious, that characterizes Wim so much, this documentary follows a simple line, however it's not a light viewing. In fact, it's hard, graphic and even chocking in some parts. Divided between the outside interpretations of Wim and Juliano, they reckon their perspectives were complemented with each other's, Juliano as son of Sebastião and Wim as the outside look, admirer of Salgado's work. But it's when Sebastião analyzes its photographs, the highlight of the film, that we realize who he really is and what he testified, transporting us into an incredible journey of anger, despair and hope.
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Informative and poetic
Horst_In_Translation19 November 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Let me start this review by saying that Wim Wenders' newest film is one you should really try to see at a theater. Its possibly biggest strength is the visual impact and it is probably just not the same on television or a small computer screen. "The Salt of the Earth" won the Special Jury Price "Un Certain regard" at the prestigious Cannes film festival this year and mostly deals with a photographer who has traveled the world in the last decades.

Wenders has done lots of documentary work recently, "Pina" and "Cathedrals of Culture" to mention only two. Next up for him is a "real" movie again starring James Franco and Rachel McAdams. When filming Sebastião Salgado here, he gets help by Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, the son of the film's protagonist. The documentary starts with Wenders telling us the linguistic origin of the word "photographer". I could have done without this, but I liked how Wenders speaks about the two pictures that made him familiar with his work. This would have worked perfectly as the initial introduction as well.

The film is basically divided into two parts. Wenders narrates about Salgado's life which does not have directly to do with his work and Salgado himself narrates about his photographs. I definitely preferred the latter. First of all, you can read about Salgado's biography, so I would also have been okay with the film really being just about the photographs. Also Wenders always have a tendency to use so much poetry and so many metaphors that it could become slightly pretentious, especially with Salgado seemingly being a man with very rational, factual language. Anyway, the biographical part was more at the beginning, so it was okay. It would have been too much for my taste if it had gone on for the whole movie. It's not really that interesting to me when Salgado went to London and back for what professional reasons.

The photographs were the absolute highlight of the film. Seeing them and listen Salgado explain is the heart and soul of the film. Also, I liked one scene in particular when we see Wenders filming Salgado and Salgado "shooting back". It is also interesting how, at one point, Salgado had seen so much human misery that he mostly moved on to animals and plants. And even if I don't like the title that much (reference, humans are the salt of the Earth), I can recommend giving this a look. I did not love it as much as I hoped I would, but I still liked it and it is certainly a very impressive watch, especially if you are interested in environment or global politics. The main music theme is nice too.
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"The Salt of the Earth" tells the remarkable story of how one man changed the world when he picked up his camera and when he put it down.
CleveMan6614 May 2015
Watching a documentary can be a powerful experience. A good documentary does what any good film does – entertains, educates and makes you feel something. Of course, a documentary is usually more concerned with the last two of those three, but if it does them well, the entertainment value will inevitably be part of the mix. It's also worth noting that the documentary has the impact of truth and reality on its side. Few feature films can match the raw emotional power of a well-done documentary about a compelling subject – especially one that relates to the lives of the audience. You get all of that with "The Salt of the Earth" (PG-13, 1:50), a 2014 Oscar nominee for Best Documentary Feature.

The film traces the career of Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado, a man whose initial career path was about as far from the arts as you can get, but nevertheless has made an indelible mark on the way we see the people and the lands that are part of this planet we all share. Salgado started studying law in college, but switched majors and ended up getting a master's degree in economics. He began using his wife's camera to document his travels in Africa on missions for the World Bank. Soon, he and his wife, Lélia, both came to realize that Sebastião could have a bigger and more positive impact with his life by using his obvious natural talent as a photographer, showing people both what was right and what was wrong with the world in which we live. With his understanding of economic conditions and global trade informing the projects he chose for himself, he went from working as a photojournalist to being part of an international organization of photographers, to striking out on his own, with Lélia as his main supporter, his chief adviser and his primary photo editor. Famed gallery curator Hal Gould has said that Salgado is the most important photographer of the early 21st century. To learn Salgado's story is to discover that statements like that one are difficult to dispute.

Salgado's photo projects often lasted years and flowed organically, one into the next, based on his interests and the things he learned along the way. In this documentary, we see him discover the lesser known areas of his native South America (and into Central America) for his project "The Other Americas". The poverty and desperation that he uncovered led him to explore a part of the world with similar problems, the Sahel region of Africa, a continent to which he would make many trips in his career. These experiences led him to other long-term projects, documenting "Workers" all over the world and then helping to publicize the plight of refugees in "Migrations". This latter project and his ongoing interest in Africa resulted in Salgado covering the genocide that took place in Rwanda in 1994. The horror he witnessed caused Salgado to put down his camera, but his contributions to helping us all understand our world through his photography did not end there. In fact, not only would he pick up his camera many times in the years to come, but he and his family have ended up making contributions to the planet that may have a much bigger impact than the photos that he has shown in galleries and published in books all over the world.

"The Salt of the Earth" was directed by two men who can only be seen as the perfect team to bring Sebastião Salgado's story to life. Wim Wenders, a previous Oscar nominee for his documentaries "Pina" and "Buena Vista Social Club", brings his experience and expertise to this film, not only as a lauded documentarian, but also as a photographer. Wenders' co-director is none other than Sebastião Salgado's son, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, who tells his father's story through the eyes of someone who grew up enduring his father's extended absences, but as an adult, began to accompany Sebastião on his globe-trotting adventures.

As Juliano narrates and shoots Sebastião's story and Wenders procduces, we see a man apply his impressive intellect not to making himself rich, but to enriching our understanding of the world in which we live – and how we can make it better. We see a man who once sported a bushy beard and a twinkle in his eye transform into a man whose face and head are devoid of hair and whose impenetrable eyes belie the emotion that occasionally cracks his voice as he talks about his experiences. We see a man of uncompromising artistic integrity and a seemingly bottomless well of personal energy and concern for the earth and its inhabitants. In short, we see a small portion of a unique body of work and we get to know the man behind those photographs and other projects that make him so unforgettable.

This film steers clear of the frills of many documentaries and lets the photographer's stark black and white images speak for themselves, many on screen for a brief moment when the camera seems to move through them to reveal the face of the man telling the stories behind the photos. This film starts very slowly and never gets to a point that one would describe as exciting, but there is no denying the impact of the images, the stories they tell and the singular importance of Sebastião Salgado, the man behind the camera. "B+".
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salt of the earth meaning the tears of human beings
andre_andreas198717 April 2015
1. this is a very good documentary 2. the photographer has a unique eye and drive to travel to impossible places 3. only reason why I am giving it a 9 out of 10 is that I expected more happy moments along with all the starvation/war/struggling miner moments 4. I would still recommend this movie to any creative person who is interested in photography, human history, current events, and personal growth. 5. You will not be disappointed with his frames and photography skills! 6. they include personal moments and love stories to go along with his adventures and photography. 7. my favorite part was the scenes/photography about the Yugoslavian/Bosnian people and their struggles during the war because I used to be good friends with people from that culture back in my refugee days in Germany.

Go check out the movie!
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Gripping documentary dazzles, focusing on amazing French-Brazilian photographer
Turfseer8 February 2015
Warning: Spoilers
"Salt of the Earth", the new, brilliant French-Brazilian documentary by Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, focuses on the life of the great photographer, Sebastião Salgado. It begins with nightmarish images taken by Salgado of 50,000 men working in Brazil's massive Serra Pelada mine.

We are soon introduced to the incredible Sebastião Salgado, who began his career as an economist and left his native Brazil along with his wife, Leila, as a result of political unrest in 1969. The couple moved to France where Juliano (co-director of the film) was born. The family experienced great anguish when a second son was born with Down's Syndrome. After taking family snapshots, Salgado fell in love with photography and gave up his safe career as an economist. He then spent years traveling to all corners of the world, often away from his family.

Salgado's first project was "Otras Americas," shot from 1977 to 1984, which brought him to various South American countries including Mexico. He fell in love with the people there and was struck by their distinctive habits (in one town everyone played a musical instrument; in another, all were long-distance runners).

Salgado's photographs gradually took on a nightmarish quality when he went to Ethiopia to cover the famine there. Words cannot describe the tragic beauty of Salgado's photos, many of which focused on the dead and dying in that part of the world. Salgado was almost killed when two helicopters appeared out of nowhere and began firing machine guns on him and the famine victims he was with.

Just as terrible involved Salgado's journey to Rwanda and the Congo in the 1990s. He chronicles the genocide in Rwanda where thousands of Tutsis were killed by Hutu militia men. After the Tutsis regained control in Rwanda, thousands of Hutu refugees fled to the Congo. Salgado heard about 250,000 of these poor souls who fled into the forest, the only place they could go to without being killed. When Salgado arrived in the Congo, only 40,000 had survived the trek in the woods and after Salgado left, the fate of the remaining survivors is unknown to this day.

Salgado communicated his shock when he encountered genocide in the former Yugoslavia. His photos chronicle the terrible hardships middle-class people endured of different national and ethnic persuasions.

Salgado confessed that his soul was "sick" after experiencing so many horrors and turned to photographing the natural world in his last decade as a professional photographer. His project was called "Genesis" and he traveled to such places as the far reaches of Siberia, to get some amazing shots of walruses and a polar bear intent on protecting his own turf.

Salgado returns full circle to his family home, a ranch in remote Aimorés in Brazil. There, he and his wife decided to plant new trees after drought had killed the trees he knew as a child. Now there are two million trees at the Instituto Terra they established on the family land. What's more, Salgado and his wife donated the land to Brazil, where it's now a national park.

Salgado's son, Juliano, is also responsible for fascinating video footage chronicling trips to visit the Yali people of Papua New Guinea and the Zo'e of Brazil's Amazonia.

Ultimately it's the amazing photographs along with Salgado's commentary that will draw you in. The man is simply incredible, braving death to bring back photographs that will simply amaze you. Salgado captures the human condition in his photos, replete with tragedy and awe-inspiring beauty. See this documentary about an incredible man and incredible artist!
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A magnificent piece of work
rcuttill5 August 2015
Warning: Spoilers
A magnificent piece of work. A long trip through the work of Sebastião Salgado. Essentially it covers his trip from Brazil all round the world and back again to Brazil. It gives a glimpse of some of the photographs from his books, some biography from his son and the vistas where we took these photos. There's some of the story about "Migrations" including ex- Yugoslavia. There's some footage about "Workers". Then there's the Rwanda massacre. This leads him to say that humanity is terrible. Something I don't agree with, in spite of humanities's worse atrocities. But then he comes back with "Genesis" an uplifting story about nature and humanity. In a sense he seems to get over the atrocities and see positive aspects to the human race. This ends with the re-forestation of his home farm. all in all a fascinating trip ending with an optimistic ending.
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"We are ferocious animals . . . "
oscaralbert6 May 2015
Warning: Spoilers
" . . . we humans are terrible animals," coffee table photo book producer Sebastiao Salgado says near the end of THE SALT OF THE EARTH. "Everyone should see (my) images to understand how terrible the human species is. No one deserves to live," he concludes. Heisenberg's Uncertainy Theory says that we cannot observe something without changing it. SALT documents how Salgado was Johnny-on-the-spot for torture in his native Brazil, the Ethiopian Mass Starvation of the 1980s, the genocide in Bosnia, the Rwandan massacres, the Burning of Kuwait, and most of the other Big Time Disasters of his lifetime. If I were in his shoes, I'd be wondering, "Is it me?" Perhaps Salgado is living a reverse Heisenberg, proving that nothing is observed without changing the viewer. If so, SALT could be detrimental to YOUR mental health--that is, unless you can take it with the proverbial grain of NaCl.
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How much pain can a human soul bear?
monirmicro6 February 2016
I was pleasantly surprised to see 'The salt of the Earth' in the documentary movie collection of the United Airlines. This is a documentary about legendary photographer Sebastiao Salgado and his life's work.

Started with an excited heart, it left me heartbroken in the end. It's amazing how a man saw so much war, loss of lives and cruelty but still believes in humans. Every book he has published is product of a grueling journey of years - each of those books completely transformed him.

This is what photography is supposed to be. I wonder how many photographers nowadays have such dedication.
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Extremely Powerful and Real
Raven-19698 November 2015
The sound of 50,000 people in a gold mine in Brazil takes one back to the time the pyramids were built. You may hear the gold whispering. Here there are slaves to the idea of getting rich. Among the Tarahumera of Mexico no one walks so much as flies. Witness in the Balkans, Iraq, Rwanda and elsewhere how contagious hatred can be. The beautiful and terrible images of photographer Sebastião Salgado are seared in my consciousness like a profound dream. This is thanks to the masterful storytelling by the documentary filmmakers. They take viewers around the world and on waves of emotion, to understand photographer Sebastião Salgado's life and unique way of seeing things.

The portrait is extremely powerful. Sebastião's adventures brought him in contact with diverse peoples with very different senses of time, rhythms and ways of thinking. Behind every mountain, in each person's eyes, there is a compelling story. The film went in surprising directions and is unpredictable. This may be different if you are familiar with Sebastião and his work, which I was not. The real life, words, images and stories in this film are enthralling. It is fascinating to understand what healed Sebastião's despair, but to reveal this would mar the ending, which I will not do. You should see for yourself! Available on Netflix.
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santiagocosme25 July 2015
Never mind the documentary side of things, this is very much a photography watching paradise. Yes, as you can imagine, there is a bit of storytelling about the photographer himself, but the salt of the earth is not pretending to be a tabloid in video format. Who cares anyway? I don't. All I want to see is more and more work by this great man. Sincerely, during the first 1H30 of the movie, until he returns to Brazil, I did not go 1 minute of the film without being awed by the marvelous visuals I was witnessing.

It is surely one of the most enjoyable documentaries I have ever seen. I feel like I have seen the planet with completely different eyes. Absolutely, compulsory viewing for photographers, planet lovers, and anyone with a mild interest for things.
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Epic and excellent
christian9413 July 2015
I went to see this critically acclaimed film with my friend photographer who had studied and emulated Sebastião Salgado well received and revered black and white work.

I had seen a suggestive and interesting movie trailer and was later pleased, doing my research, to see Wim Wenders involved. He had done the daring, decisive, eclectic, artistic tribute to Pina (2011) which I loved and to a lesser extent was able to catch some of the essence of Cuba and its music in Buena Vista Social Club (1999). Wenders is remarkable here and sets the tone. Now the other revelation as the co-writer/director as well as co-cinematographer is Sebastião Salgado's son: Juliano Ribeiro Salgado.

Juliano documents his father (and parts of his own) life and journey and makes the piece even more personal. This reminded me of the moving tribute of Nathaniel Kahn to his dad Louis Kahn in My Architect (2003) with a huge difference being that Sebastião Salgado (and even the grandfather Sebastião Salgado senior) were still alive to film together as opposed to a posthumous search for the trace of one's father through his work and people's anecdotes in the case of Khan.

As for the movie itself it is a treat to the eyes, heart, head and soul. It combines beautiful and often haunting photographs with story, narration, interview and introspection. It tell the tales in three prominent continents of the continuous search for understanding of humanity's worse and best achievements and attitudes. It conveys, loss, fear, hopelessness, innocence, injustice and intolerance. It talks about war, politics, environment, economics, etc. Salgado was surprisingly an economist before leaving his steady job with a dream and his wife's camera to wander in Africa in search of human truth.

He found that and more. A talent and an eye for camera, for capturing the man and the moment. The past, the future, the present and the context. The composition and the subtext... the sublime!

Will everyone appreciate this film? Probably not. Yet for those who have the interest, the patience and the chance to see this documentary and delve into the decades of work, thoughts, themes and realizations of one man (and his loving, equally brave and brilliant, supportive family) will be greatly enriched and inspired by it. This film is like talking to a father wise beyond his years. A wisdom shared and mutually understood if not lived. Lived through his words and pictures. Because beyond all the darkness and difficulties, there is a light.

Photography come from phōs meaning light

Another documentary for the ages.
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The Father - O Pai
clarkj-565-16133627 April 2015
Many times a son asks why his father was absent so much when he was young, or perhaps why he is uncommunicative. Later in life he discovers that his father had some special task to do or that he was not able to discuss his work. In the case of Juliano Salgado he discovers first hand what is involved in capturing nature in all its beauty while filming his father at work. Sebastião's many trips to Africa obviously took him away for long periods of time, but the results of his work are a historical record of some of mankind's horrible deeds. The film describes the socio political context of Brazil in the 60s and 70s which is important to understand the trajectory of the young couple in their exile to France and their joint partnership in photography. The black and white scenes of early Brazil and the grandfather's ranch are wonderful. The ending is also well chosen to give us hope for the future, in the successful reclamation of the property by replanting the mata atlântica.
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Sheer horror but wrapped in beauty. A fitting tribute like no other to one of the greatest photographers in history.
markgorman23 July 2015
You may not consider a two hour documentary, that is in large part a slideshow of Brazilian Social photographer Sebastião Salgado's portfolio, featuring many, many dead and mutilated bodies, a significant proportion of them children and babies would be the recipe for entertainment but, trust me, it is.

This movie, co-directed and produced by Wim Wenders and Salgado's son Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, should be essential viewing for anyone with any interest in humanity, humanitarian aid and politics because the vast bulk of it covers Salgado's career as a social photographer who specialised in capturing images of large populations of the displaced and downtrodden or victims of natural disaster and war. This takes in Eritrea, Rwanda, Kosovo, the Oil fires of Kuwait, left in Saddam's wake, and the biblical and truly epic nature of his most famous work; the gold mines of Brazil where up to 50,000 men gold prospected in deep pits of mud.

Wender narrates and Salgado Jr and Hugo Barbier share cinematography duties. That's no small undertaking as they are filming a master at work and in the flesh, but somehow their cameras are every bit as inspiring as Salgado Sr's.

As the film develops we see where this fame has taken Salgado, back to his native Brazil where he has established a conservation project of such dramatic scale that it has been transformed into a natural park. It's a remarkable achievement.

Salgado's photography places him in the most esteemed company in photographic history (with Ansell Adams he ranks as my personal favourite - coincidentally both photograph strictly in monochrome). What makes this tribute so moving is Salgado's personal reminiscences of how he witnessed children die and wars that are so utterly pointless.

At one point we see an image of a man placing his dead baby onto a vast pile of dead bodies - of Holocaust proportions. Salgado says, and I paraphrase, "He turned away almost chatting to his friend so inured was he to the horror in which he was living."

Towards the end it all gets too much for him, he very nearly breaks down. The audience is with him the way.

This is a must see film. Really must see on so many levels. A straight 10/10.
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Superb Documentary...
zipkir-599-6429814 February 2019
Salgado is one of the best photographers... Absolutely worth of watching... Two thumbs up...
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Great documentary about a great man
takezo-810103 December 2016
Sebastia Salgado is a great man, who loves humans and nature. His work as photographer is astonishing: natural scenes or human disasters, Salgado shootings always reach their targets: showing the world as it is.

How to make a documentary about a photographer? By showing beautiful images, of course! But also by making an efficient scenario. From the past to present of Sebastio, we can follow the story of the man, the story of the artist, and the story of earth, as Sebastio has always followed the rhythms of the world to build his books and choose his theme.

Photograph lover or humble spectator will enjoy this documentary . Go for it!
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Best picture of human nature
gulherme10 February 2016
The Salt of Earth is a movie about pictures of our world, not just photos, but a critical vision of our society, a son to father movie, about how a former economist saw the world thought his camera. This documentary could be just a about a great photographer, but it goes beyond, and show us about the human side of ourself, a side sometimes we forget.

To take a perfect pictures may took years, may took risk of life, may took a feeling, but always will need a human instinct to see, what is almost impossible to see for everyone else. The main argument in this movie isn't about how take pictures, but what they means for us, and what it shows, a war, a strong little boy man, a beautiful woman going to die, human greed for gold, or just how the world don't need us to be beautiful.

The director show a movie about human nature, in best picture, but not in the best of human, sometimes, the best picture show the worst of human nature. This is the best lesson from this movie, human nature is complex, and sometimes chaotic.
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Because people - and nature, and the animals - are the salt of the earth
rzervou28 October 2015
Wenders is one of the most challenging directors of our times. Though the last years he seems to have run out of ideas, he can still direct a fabulous documentary when the prime material is a diamond: Salgado, the best photographer of all times.

Sebastao Salgado is a legend.He as taken the most deep views on human nature and pain. He has let himself exposed to the extremes of human cruelty and destruction, he has faced poverty and death and this devastated.The pictures taken from his beloved Africa, followed by a concussive description of unknown to us dramas of thousands and millions of people, remind us of what man is capable to do to one another, how no one on this planet can claim innocence.

However, the outcome is not despair. Man, and that is the main attribute given to Salgado, always finds his way to hope. The film lyrically leads us from the absolute despair about the future of human kind to the rediscovery of nature and the wild that ends up rendering a deforested piece of Amazonian jungle back to its former state, giving back to nature what was taken from her. Yes, the Salgado family had the strength to do it. Yes, the human kind has the strength to do it.

This fabulous story is narrated through the most miraculous black and white pictures and portraits ever taken. A homage to Man and Nature, that is what the movie is about.
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don't say 'smile' please
fanbaz-549-87220925 November 2014
Warning: Spoilers
This is a documentary about a photographer who has spent his working life traveling and taking pictures of people and places. Anyone can take a photo. Everyone does. You press a button and there it is. It takes no skill. Not like painting a picture or playing the organ. What makes one picture different from another in the content. Wim's subject, Sebastiao Salgado was born in Brazil. He went to Paris as a young man, grew a long beard and became famous by taking pictures of gold miners. His stock in trade is human misery. Pictures of the sick and dying. Dead children in coffins. Dead women. Starving women. His camera clicks and the images are saved. And his takes pictures of animals and trees. Not in his local park. But of place you will never see, or got to, or want to go to. That's his thing. Why audiences gasp. The exotic. It never fails. I found this documentary fawning in the extreme to a man who has made a living off the dead of the earth. Forget the salt. As he talks without emotion of the pitiful sights he has flown out to photo I felt angry and sick at heart. Wim, please. Get back to the real world of imagination.
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