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#HotDocs22 Review: Scrap

April 29, 2022

By John Corrado

★★★½ (out of 4)

The 2022 Hot Docs Film Festival runs from April 28th to May 8th in Toronto, more information on tickets and showtimes can be found right here.

Director Stacey Tenenbaum’s documentary Scrap opens in White, Georgia, which is the site of Old Car City. Known as the world’s oldest classic car junkyard, the camera takes us through the decaying vehicles housed on the natural lot, some of which have trees growing through their broken windshields. It’s an instantly captivating opening for Tenenbaum’s film, which serves as a poetic cinematic exploration of what happens to waste from vehicles and electronics once they are no longer of use to us.

Tenenbaum goes on to follow a family in Thailand that lives in the ruins of an abandoned airplane, as well as a farmer in South Dakota who makes sculptures out of scrap metal from agricultural equipment and found objects. We also observe the poor wage workers in Delhi who are tasked with picking through our electronic waste from cell phones for recycling, and get to witness a project in Spain that is turning old ships, which are only built with a lifespan of thirty or forty years, into architectural projects including a church.

What emerges is an oddly moving ode to the connections we form with objects, and what happens to them when they reach the end of their lives. The film is guided by Katerine Giguère’s grand, hypnotic cinematography, which captures the strange beauty of seeing decaying items breaking down and being repurposed. With its poignant classical score by Ramachandra Borcar, and slow fade throughs using images of rust as transitions, Scrap is an elegiac and artistic portrait of what we leave behind. The cumulative effect of it is something quite powerful.

Screenings:

Sunday, May 1st – 2:00 PM at Isabel Bader Theatre

Wednesday, May 8th – 11:00 AM at Varsity 8

The film is also available to stream across Canada for five days starting on May 2nd at 9:00 AM.

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