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critics consensus

While the work it honors may pose thorny ethical questions that Salt of the Earth neglects to answer, it remains a shattering, thought-provoking testament to Sebastião Salgado's career. Read critic reviews

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The Salt of the Earth Photos

Movie Info

Juliano Ribeiro Salgado co-directs a look at the career of his father, photographer Sebastião Salgado.

Cast & Crew

Lélia Wanick Salgado
Self
Régis Muller
Self
João Pessoa Mattos
Self
Wim Wenders
Screenwriter
David Rosier
Screenwriter
Wim Wenders
Executive Producer
Hugo Barbier
Cinematographer
Rob Myers
Film Editor
Laurent Petitgand
Original Music
Show all Cast & Crew

Critic Reviews for The Salt of the Earth

All Critics (94) | Top Critics (33) | Fresh (89) | Rotten (5)

  • Wenders showcases his work while giving him a platform to express his philosophical and political views. The doc benefits from a subtly affecting use of music.

    July 23, 2015 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Salgado proves an adept and compassionate storyteller, his training as an economist providing sociopolitical insight into the suffering (manmade rather than natural) that threatens to engulf his work.

    July 19, 2015 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Wenders introduces us to an intelligent, rigorous man who thinks hard about the structures that impose hardship on the powerless.

    July 19, 2015 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Wim Wenders' master stroke in The Salt of the Earth is to let the photographs of Sebastião Salgado speak for themselves.

    July 16, 2015 | Rating: 4/5
  • Sebastião Salgado has spent his career documenting human suffering. And yet this quiet, dignified film about the 71-year-old will leave you twitching with envy. His, truly, has been a life well-lived.

    July 16, 2015 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • The standout images should stay with viewers for the foreseeable future.

    July 16, 2015 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Wenders showcases his work while giving him a platform to express his philosophical and political views. The doc benefits from a subtly affecting use of music.

    July 23, 2015 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Salgado proves an adept and compassionate storyteller, his training as an economist providing sociopolitical insight into the suffering (manmade rather than natural) that threatens to engulf his work.

    July 19, 2015 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Wenders introduces us to an intelligent, rigorous man who thinks hard about the structures that impose hardship on the powerless.

    July 19, 2015 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Wim Wenders' master stroke in The Salt of the Earth is to let the photographs of Sebastião Salgado speak for themselves.

    July 16, 2015 | Rating: 4/5
  • Co-directors Win Wenders' and Salgado's son Juliano's documentary chronicling the life of the photographer is so full of jaw-dropping moments that getting up close and personal with a whale merits only a passing mention.

    January 9, 2020 | Full Review…
  • This documentary memoir of legendary Brazilian photographer Juliano Ribeiro Salgado offers extreme visions of beauty and horror in unlikely co-existence, though both are more graphic.

    August 7, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Salt of the Earth

  • May 22, 2015
    While exploring themes of death and rebirth, "The Salt of the Earth" is specifically a powerful documentary about the life, times and work of renowned photographer Sebastiao Selgado. He excelled at capturing the scale of large events while never losing the intimacy of telling individual stories. That immediately becomes clear in this documentary with a series of photographs that he took at a South American gold mine that was populated by 50,000 men and which was the first of his work that Wim Wenders ever saw. Even more important is the way that Salgado's depictions of human suffering have alerted the wider world to any number of humanitarian crises across the globe. As Wenders puts it, Salgado has managed to combine his training as an economist and previous work for the World Bank with his photography to create a unique and very useful form of art. "The Salt of the Earth" also provides another vantage point, that of his now grown son Juliano Ribeiro Salgado who has filmed footage of his own, as he seeks to fully understand his father who was absent a lot of the time when he was growing up roaming the globe. Together, father and son travel to the Arctic Circle and encounter an uncooperative polar bear.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 30, 2014
    A profoundly revealing doc about this great artist worthy of our highest admiration for his unparalleled, eye-opening work of tremendous social consciousness, and it is so inspiring to see that he has started to regain hope in the world after so much disappointment.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer

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