Goddess, Garbage & Gerwalt
Nov 24, 2023
Aristotelis Chaitidis, Alkistis Kafetzi
The idea that humans have screwed up the planet is nothing new, and it’s certainly not a new idea to bring to cinema, perhaps expressed in the biggest, if not the best, way through Adam McKay’s 2021 comedy ‘Don’t Look Up’. Whilst ‘Goddess, Garbage & Gerwalt’ doesn’t have an angry Jennifer Lawrence or a hyperventilating Leonardo DiCaprio, it does have a similar message of morbidity surrounding the future of our planet, only this short creates a strangely frustrating aura, an almost cult like trance in order to convey what is actually a very straightforward metaphor.
The message of the film, which is directed by Aristotelis Chaitidis and Alkistis Kafetzi, is a relatively straightforward one, expressing how far humanity have strayed from nature and the way in which, if inclined to have faith, the world was created. It’s a story of how mankind’s pollution, technology and industrialisation have caused irreversible damage to natural landscapes and wildlife, leading to the extinction of numerous species of both plants and animals alike. The issue is that such a straightforward concept and message is conveyed in a manner that overcomplicates its idea to the extent that the broader themes no longer even seem relevant, and it instead comes across as pretentious.
A German film, written by Aristotelis Chaitidis, who also stars as a lone, headphone wearing figure, who is more than slightly crazy and is emblematic of mankind’s ignorance towards the damage cause, ‘Goddess, Garbage & Gerwalt begins in darkness with a mystical voiceover narration, which continues throughout. It is the voice of Aleksandra Corovic, who appears moments later as the titular Goddess (from which we can infer that Chaitidis plays Gerwalt). Following a long aerial shot of the field in which she has crashed to earth, she emerges from a pile of garbage, not too dissimilar from the ideas of shooting stars themselves as celestial garbage.
From there, the film is devoted to following this goddess, this fallen star as she comes to terms with the destruction wreaked upon earth by mankind, as she wanders around this desolate field, with dead or dying vegetation, and the only sound that of the wind turbines which dwarf even her. Mankind has gone too far, technology has become too great, greater than even a higher power, and it provides a stark difference to the nature now rotting at its feet. The film concludes that the inability to escape our shortcomings despite meaning well, is simply human nature, and therefore, we as humans, though the cause of climate change and natural destruction, are compelled by our own nature and thus powerless to stop it.
Chaitidis writes the dialogue better than the overall story, though he and Kafetzi direct the film in a stiff manner, coming across as robotic, and lacking the authenticity or character that is really needed to enrapture an audience. Neither actor is given much to work with, instead forced to look glumly into the camera or out across the rotting land around them, rather than handed any real opportunity to give a dramatic turn.
Whilst not a bad film per se, ‘Goddess, Garbage & Gerwalt’ is at times a tedious watch, mishandling and overcomplicating its straightforward ideas so that they become too convoluted, and creating a strange cultish serenity that never truly feels right.