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Matter Out of Place

A film by Nikolaus Geyrhalter

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Waste on the shores, waste on the mountains. On ocean floors and deep down in the earth. The term “matter out of place” refers to objects in a place they originally do not belong to. And there are many such objects in the places Nikolaus Geyrhalter visits for this film.

In his unique imagery consisting of minutely composed pictures, the director traces immense amounts of waste across our planet. He travels from the mountain tops of Switzerland to the coasts of Greece and Albania, into an Austrian refuse incinerator and then to Nepal and the Maldives, and finally to the deserts of Nevada.

MATTER OUT OF PLACE is about human-made refuse, which surrounds us all the time, everywhere. On his journey, Geyrhalter illustrates the sheer endless struggle of people to gain control over the vast amounts of waste that we produce every single day. Collecting, shredding, burning, burying – a Sisyphean task, which ostensibly solves the global problem of rubbish that is stealthily growing.

“A visually gorgeous, even pristine, movie about, well, garbage. ... But this is no navel-gazing exercise in aestheticizing detritus or finding beauty in ugly places. Rather, Geyrhalter’s keen, rigorous tableaux provoke us to think about the massive global industry required to deal with the rubbish we so casually generate in our everyday culture of disposability.” —The New York Times

“Mesmerizing and strangely beautiful.” —Variety

Matter Out Of Place is a typically sober, observational and engrossing work of ecological-anthropological documentary from Austrian maestro Nikolaus Geyrhalter. Here is a director quite easy to take for granted, but who is painstakingly assembling an impressive cinematic corpus, intelligently engaged with some of the most pressing issues of our times.” —Screen Daily

“Hypnotic, perfect compositions.” —The Film Verdict

“A transfixing as well as a disturbing documentary on our trash problem. We are living in the dawn of Anthropocene and Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s wide-ranging views of the garbage-filled landscape add to the many resounding alarm bells for humanity.” —High on Films

“Exposes the squalid world of refuse in a way that is both horrifying and compelling. Artfully framed and (delightfully) without dialogue or explanation Geyrhalter lets his startling pictures tell a grim story.” —Filmuforia

“This beautifully made film presents a multi-layered, piercingly intelligent account of waste as a formidable symbol of development and destruction caused by humankind.” —International Cinephile Society

“This year's most riveting film about garbage.” —Global Comment

“Matter Out of Place creates a compelling connection that runs over the entire world—including some of the most remote places on the planet—in the form of the things we throw away.” —Cineaste

“Imbues the landscape with a political charge, exploring its defilement as the inherent cost of capitalism... Matter Out of Place appropriately captures the inexorable issue of waste and confronts our struggle to surmount it.” —BOMB Magazine

“With static camerawork that accentuates the artfulness of his shot compositions, Geyrhalter finds in garbage a sublimity, disturbingly beautiful in its sheer magnitude.” —Slant Magazine

Exceptionally beautiful, as all of Geyrhalter’s films are. —The Flip Side

“Reveals how much labor and resources are needed to properly manage trash... Matter Out of Place should make anyone reflect on what they discard, usually without giving it a second thought.” —Educational Media Reviews Online

Green Leopard Environmental Prize, Locarno Film Festival 2022
Camden IFF 2022
IDFA 2022
DOK Leipzig 2022
Viennale 2022

105 minutes / Color
German; English / English subtitles
Closed Captioned
Release: 2023
Copyright: 2022

For individual consumers (home video)

This DVD is sold for private, home use only.

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For colleges, universities, government agencies, hospitals and corporations

This DVD is sold with a license for institutional use and Public Performance rights.

Subject areas:
Agriculture, Biology, Business and Economics, Cultural Anthropology, Ecology, Economic Sociology, Economics, Environment, Ethics, Food, Globalization, Nature, Science and Technology, Science/Technology, Urban Studies

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