Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, the son of the great Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado, presents The Salt of the Earth at Un Certain Regard. A portrait of his father, in collaboration with Wim Wenders and compiled as a result of his travels.
Photo of the Film © Decia Film
Tell us how your film came about
In 2004, my father, the photographer Sebastião Salgado, began his last long project, "Genesis". With that he set out on a search for original places of paradise that would last for eight years and which gave rise to the idea that I should accompany him.
I had my doubts, as I didn't know how my work would fit with his. But the first journey turned out to be incredible. He took us to Brazil, into the very depths of the Amazon, 300 km from the nearest town. There we met and spent a month with a remote tribe, living like they did in the Stone Age era, the Zo’é.
For me the experience was a privilege, a moment out of time, during which my father and I renewed our bond. We then went to Papua New Guinea, to Irian Jaya, to an extremely isolated tribe, the Yali, then to the island of Wrangel in the Arctic Circle, populated by walruses and polar bears
When my father looked at what I'd filmed, he was moved, sometimes to tears. Our dialogue took place in words, but also in pictures.
During these journeys, we talked about many things that we had never before discussed. The idea of the film which would gather together all our encounters then occurred to me.
Any particular memory or an anecdote from the shoot?
During one of our journeys, we spent several weeks in the Yali region in Papua New Guinea. The only way of getting there is in a small plane, or after 20 days of walking.
Living with the Yali is an intense experience. They still follow an ancestral way of life: they hunt, cultivate sweet potato and raise pigs, which live with them in their huts. The Yali have neither electricity, nor running water and everything is handed down orally. the men wear nothing but a long penis sheathe and a bag slung over their shoulder. During the first days with them, everything reminded me just how different we were from each other.
After a few days, I followed a group who had spent the entire afternoon making a trap to catch the large rodents they ate. At the end of the working day, one of them sat cross-legged and rubbed two pieces of wood together. In just a few seconds he had lit a fire, repeating an ancestral action which our societies have long since forgotten. I filmed this moment because I felt moved. I had the feeling I was going through an extremely symbolic experience. they then all took out little leaves from their bags and began to roll cigarettes which they lit with the fire they had just made.
It was then I realised that they had lit this fire simply in order to have a chat over a cigarette after work. Just like my colleagues and I do in Paris. That made a deep impression on me and completely changed my way of looking at them.
Can you tell us about her next project?
My next film is a fictional story that takes place in Brazil in São Paulo. I'm still in the process of writing it but what I can say is that it's a psychological thriller based around an powerful theme in Brazilian society: upward social mobility
Tuesday 20th May / Debussy Theatre / 5:00 pm