Film Review: Salt of the Earth

Salt of the Earth, a new Sony Pictures Classics doc narrated and codirected by Wim Wenders, is a somber retrospective of the prodigious photographer Sebastião Salgado rendered, fittingly, in black and white. The 71-year-old Brazilian gained his acclaim shooting war, manual labor (Workers), and mass displacement (Migrations). On screen, as he hopscotches from one calamity to the next, we can see his faith in humanity eroding. “We humans are terrible animals,” he proclaims at one point, later adding: “It’s an endless story of repression, a tale of madness.” This visually stunning film helps us understand why Salgado, like other photographers who focus on human misery, has sought respite in more heartening projects: His most recent, Genesis, documents Earth’s natural wonders.