The life of Sebastião Salgado, the legendary photo journalist and social photograher is one that captured many of the major events of the post war world. He has seen great events unfold and has been at the cusp of violence and horrors on mass. Salgado moves from the gold mines of Brazil and the peoples desperate struggle to find just some of that precious mineral. Then he talks on the famine in Ethiopia and his capturing of that horrific event. Salgado then went into Rwanda, when the Hutus and the Tutsis were in the process of genocide. Seeing the death and desperation all around and thinks on this. From passing the killing field of Rwanda and later in the jungles of the Congo. All this paid a price and he contemplates what he left of himself there. Finally his life moves onto the silence of the beautiful family farm in Brazil. Given to him on his fathers death. Barren of the very thing it made itself on. Now he and the woman he loved turn it back into a living jungle. He took the world around him and begun to craft it as he did his pictures.
Photography is something that many film makers obsess over. The image as narrative, the image as emotive tool and the image as message. This might sound a bit like the over analysis of an arty farty wannabe but hear me out. The wonder of taking a photo well is that you capture a natural event. An event thta is so spontaneous and yet so captivating as to be stunning. Some film makers want to invoke this in everything they do visually. Wim Wenders is one of them. So he has found a natural ally in Sebastião Salgado and his work. Sebastião Salgado is an enigma to me. I feel that prehaps he was also to Wenders.The piece is less an biography and far more a reflection on the reflections. A what you felt and why you did. In that way the film can be said to delight in its personal connection and rejoice in its subjects openness. This is also why it was gifted with a special awards at Cannes. A festival that delights in both personal and openness.
Salgado is a man that sees the world as divine and beautiful. He sees life as awe inspiring, like the very reflection of the human soul can be seen in natures heart. This is constructed out of his images and his words. Wenders spends much time connecting father and son within this frame work and this builds the subject as a real man. This does however reduce the work of Sebastião Salgado wife, who worked hard at keeping a family together. Wenders also loves the meditation on event and image as they blend in the mind of the craftsman. Even after being witness to some of the most awful of things we do to each other,Salgado can live in peace and be together is amazing. I only can say one real negative is that toward the end it is laboured and like much by Wenders, wants to contemplate. This adds a little bulk because what it does is over inflate an event. Workers, Sebastião Salgado famous work is rushed over due to this. I was saddened by this and that is harsh to handle.