Directed by Nikolaus Geyrhalter • Documentary • 2023 • 105 minutes
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 is surrounding 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.
“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.” —The New York Times