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The Waste Land

A full century after publication, The Waste Land considers T. S. Eliot's namesake poem alongside our present, assuredly asserting that the words continue to resonate and to fuel our imagination. Filmmaker Chris Teerink offers no analysis of the poem, but instead seeks parallels. With a soundtrack by Dutch singer-songwriter Blaudzun, and using photographs and stills instead of moving images, he creates a slideshow that mirrors the fragmentary core of Eliot's language.

The poem itself is a tapestry that draws on material from Dante Alighieri, Buddhism and Hinduism. In this documentary, Teerink shows how these threads course through our present. As we listen to writers, literary scholars and other thinkers ruminate on Eliot's poetry, powerful imagery illustrates how the faith in progress literally falters at the boundaries of our society.

Stretching out from the cityscapes of London to the no man’s land of the Mojave Desert, and from writer Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer's Italy to the borders of Poland, a recent site of violent restriction for those seeking refuge. The Waste Land is everywhere.

Selected for Harbour at IFFR 2024.