Rocky Start to a Collaboration ; Wim Wenders Ponders the Oscars, the Salgados and 'Salt of the Earth'

By Rohter, Larry | International New York Times, February 7, 2015 | Go to article overview

Rocky Start to a Collaboration ; Wim Wenders Ponders the Oscars, the Salgados and 'Salt of the Earth'


Rohter, Larry, International New York Times


Wim Wenders ponders the Oscars, the Salgados and "Salt of the Earth."

The German film director Wim Wenders is also a photographer with numerous exhibitions and books to his credit, and has collected the work of the Brazilian photographer Sebastiao Salgado since the 1980s. But the two men met for the first time only about six years ago, and initially there was no talk of the collaboration that led to the making of "The Salt of the Earth," one of five nominees for the Oscar for best feature documentary.

"The Salt of the Earth," directed by Mr. Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, Mr. Salgado's son, is a kind of retrospective of Mr. Salgado's career, with long black-and-white sequences in which he discusses the whys and hows of some of his best-known photographs, and talks about his most recent project, a nature collection called "Genesis." But the movie -- which won a prize at Cannes in May, was released in parts of Europe in the fall and opens in the United States and Britain in the next few months -- also contains footage of Mr. Salgado at work in the field in places like New Guinea and at the family farm deep in the Brazilian interior, where he was raised.

"We both got to know each other for about a year before the idea of a movie came up," Mr. Wenders, 69, recalled in a telephone interview last month from his office in Berlin, where a pair of Salgado prints hang over his desk. "Genesis" was definitely the catalyst, he added. In fact, when Mr. Salgado first inquired if Mr. Wenders could imagine any way to show the Genesis photographs on a screen, Mr. Wenders recalled, "my immediate reaction was 'No, forget it, it will become a slide show."'

But Mr. Wenders found Mr. Salgado so engaging a storyteller that he eventually came around, deciding that a movie could work if Mr. Salgado's own voice and explanations were heard. But complications ensued: a project that Mr. Wenders thought would take just a few weeks stretched on for more than three years.

Though Mr. Wenders is best known for fictional features like "Paris, Texas" and "Faraway, So Close," both of his Oscar nominations have come for documentaries, "Buena Vista Social Club" and "Pina." In the interview, he talked about the challenges and pleasures of making "The Salt of the Earth" and reflected a bit on his Oscar experiences. Here are edited excerpts:

Q. To what extent did your own parallel career as a photographer drive you to make this film?

Maybe it's the attraction of opposites, because I've never even tried to do photography remotely like his. I've never done any social photography, I've strictly been a photographer of places -- landscapes and buildings and deserts -- but I've always been really attracted by the care that I saw in his photographs and the closeness that he had to people. So if anything, it was that I wanted to know as a photographer what kind of a man was able to immerse himself in other realities like he does. While I wait until people have left my frame until I take a picture. [Laughs]

Q. What about the aesthetic appeal of work in black and white?

A.I've had a soft spot for black and white for a long time, although again it's the antithesis. I strictly photograph in color and I wouldn't even know any more how to do a black-and-white picture. But all of the photographs I have collected so far are black and white and my wife is also a photographer, who strictly does black and white, so I love it. It's such a lost art.

Now, I've made a number of black-and-white movies, but that's a different thing. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Rocky Start to a Collaboration ; Wim Wenders Ponders the Oscars, the Salgados and 'Salt of the Earth'
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.