The Salt of the Earth (10/10)
by Tony Medley
Runtime 109 minutes.
OK for children.
This is not just a wonderful documentary about one of the greatest
social photographers of the generation, Sebasti‚o Salgado, itís a
picture of the brutal life of survival in the worlds far beyond our
shores. While there might be poverty and deprivation in some parts of
the United States, itís nothing compared with what you see in this film.
Salgado traveled to some of the great disasters of the age, and
photographed them. This film shows the horror of the oil fires set by
the monster Saddam Hussein of Iraq. It shows the brutality visited on
the Tutsis by the Hutus in Rwanda in 1994, a massacre about which
President Bill Clinton to his shame did not lift a finger to help (nor
did the United Nations), even though he committed Americaís air might to
save the white Muslims against the Serbs in Croatia. So 1,000,000 black
people were slaughtered in Africa by other blacks while the world
But itís not just disasters, international conflicts, starvation, and
exodus that he covers. He follows the Zo'ť tribe, a recently discovered
tribe that the world thought had died out centuries ago, photographing
them hunting through one of the last largely unexplored rainforests in
Brazil and gets some amazing pictures. All the Indians are stark naked,
which is the way of life in the rainforest, and they all have a wooden
plug piercing their lower lip. This could be the most amazing and
eye-opening segment of the film but thatís hard to say because the
entire film is eye-opening.
The film also shows how Sebasti‚o and his wife, Leila, took his barren
homestead in South America and created a new rainforest by planting
millions of trees. The before and after pictures are stunning.
But what will stay with
you forever are the magnificent shots of the poor African people that he
risked his life to get. There are many of them from many different parts
of the continent and they are heart-breaking. These innocent people
were/are persecuted by war and vicious African tribes. The lives they
lead are strictly lives of survival. If you think people have it bad in
Detroit and Chicago where the downtrodden still have places to live and
TV and cell phones and transportation and markets, you wonít think that
after you see this film. It is just an amazing journey. I was transfixed
throughout. This is a mesmerizing film not to be missed.