Trash Lords

Friday 23:20

Rentsli krahvid

Raoul Kirsima | 
2022 | 
Estonia | 
21:12 mins | 
One day, a waste sorting mother - son duo Hilse and Tang discover that a nationwide sorting campaign has been launched. They feel a great sense of injustice. They are already doing the dirtiest job in the country and now even that is taken away from them. Citizens walking around with three bags of garbage should be extra careful now, because Hilse and Tang are about to “sort out” everyone who sort their waste at home.

Trash Lords by Raoul Kirsima is a fun and anarchic free-for-all that satirises the recycling industry and its affect on labour. Half musical, half comedy and with a tint of romance, Trash Lords brings an intriguing surrealist twist reminiscent of Boots Riley’s Sorry Not to Bother You.

At the heart of Trash Lords is a treatise on waste. In its initial garb, waste provides the basis of labour for a gang of Estonians working and sorting on the black conveyor belt. This labour is not only a means of living but also a means of identity. In sorting trash, for better or for worse, their labour becomes the basis of their identity. Characters exclaim that they’re trash with equal parts affection and dismay. In our consumer, throw-away society it isn’t only commodities that are trash but humans too.

This is epitomised in the central crux of the film, the move from waste sorting to recycling. With their labour rendered almost superfluous by Estonian state’s drive to recycle – their being less waste for them to sort – the mother and son duo at the heart of the sorting team venture out to violently avenge their loss. Though a comedy the film touches on the darkness inherent in this action; in seeing themselves as trash amongst the rubbish of the world, they value others the same.

The question seems thus not to be of whether recycling or waste sorting is the right tool to combat, but the origination of waste through overproduction and its consequent affect on identity in lower socio-economic classes. Trash Lords thus asks us to understand the far reaching implications of production and waste on those we are oppressed by our capitalist economic systems.