Hot Docs ’22: Scrap is a thoughtful meditation on the things we build

Where do the things we make go when we’re done with them? It’s a question that we too often don’t ask ourselves, along with what the long term effects are of what we do with our old stuff. Scrap doesn’t have any easy answers, but the new film from director Stacey Tenenbaum does offer a fascinating glimpse at a part of our modern world that we prefer not to think about.

Presented more as a series of thematically connected vignettes than one narrative, Scrap takes you on a journey around the globe from a forest full of cars in the United States to a shipyard in Spain, carefully dismantling a ship, so its pieces can be used to build a church, to a family living in an aeroplane graveyard in Southeast Asia, and more.

Each vignette is delivered with stunning camera work and excerpts from the people in each location. Dismantled ships and piles of discarded electronics aren’t the types of subjects one first thinks of when thinking of beauty, but Tenenbaum and cinematographer Katerine Giguère manage to capture more with static shots of the rust on a car hood than I’ve seen in most other films this year. The deliberately slow pace and peaceful score make the film a meditative experience and one to be savoured.

Each is also thought-provoking without preaching, offering the viewer to draw conclusions from the information presented without explicitly guiding them to one side of any argument. Yet, it’s hard to imagine watching and coming to any conclusions other than that we need to do better with reclaiming waste, preserving our history, and how the things we make in the west affect people in other parts of the world.

2022 Hot Docs
Rating: 4/5

Scrap played as part of Hot Docs 2022


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