The Hebron Hills garbage dump serves the surrounding Israeli settlements and is a source of an eked-out livelihood for 200 Palestinian families from in and around the Palestinian village of Yatta. The stories of eleven-year-old Harun, seventeen-year-old Ibrahim, forty-year-old Yusuf, and sixty-yearold Badawi, expose a daily struggle for subsistence in an inescapable reality of occupation. These are the children of the Occupation who were born after 1967 and have never known any other reality. The violent daily struggle for every scrap of metal in the dump distracts from other everyday pains: a son who sold land to the Jews, a woman who cannot reunite with her family in Jordan, a father serving a life sentence in an Israeli prison, and illiterate parents who push their children to work in the dump while simultaneously holding onto the dream of seeing them break out of this vicious cycle and completing a high-school degree. For the average person in the village of Yatta, who has lost all faith in politics, personal success and education have become weapons against the Occupation; weapons that might extricate them from the suffocating trap of the garbage dump, both literally and figuratively.
Just next to the truck is yet another group of avid treasure-hunters, waiting for the garbage to leave the truck and hit the ground where the search can begin. We believe it to be survival of the fittest. A daily struggle to find the best pieces in the piles of garbage. And perhaps it is so. But in Shosh Shlam and Ada Ushpiz’s movie Good Garbage there seems to be an unwritten agreement about who gets what. When a pile of garbage leaves the truck the men seem to divide it between them. We don’t see any arguments, we don’t see any fights. At least not at first.
a truckload of plastic bottles, rotten vegetables, household waste, old scrap metal
Some documentary films have an amazing ability to enter foreign and unknown environments and let the viewer enter these environments for a few minutes, perhaps even an hour or two. This is one of the highest tasks of a good documentary. To open our eyes and let us see things, people and places that we do not normally see. And this is exactly the strength of Good Garbage. The many scenes at the garbage dump are the true triumph of the film. With Danor Glazer’s intelligent cinematography we cannot avoid engaging in this strange environment. Many scenes are well composed and now and then we even get an almost abstract yet majestic shot filled with graphic lines of the desert, the dump and the people.
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