visual anthropology

A film by Amelia Bryne / Phoebe Sullivan
with music by The Frequency

Wealth is a feature-length film about the relationship between Americans and the objects they own.

Working out from the living rooms and stores of a former factory town fallen on hard times, Wealth looks at objects, and at small town America. With this backdrop of apparent economic decline, the film sets the stage for a revelatory portrait exploring American material abundance; the things that fill our store shelves and closets, backyards and dumpsters.

Shedding light on objects in dusty corners and bathroom cabinets, the film is a commentary on something happening across the United States. How does American culture shape our relationship to our possessions, to our practices of buying, sharing, using, and throwing away our things? What can a close inspection of our material world tell us about the state of our economy and about the story of American wealth that we, and the world, tell?

Color / USA / 65 min / 2008

Wealth premiered at the Anthology Film Archives in 2009 as part of the New Filmmakers series.

Three excerpts from the film:

Comments on the film:

“In Wealth, There was a correspondence of themes that I loved: purposeless objects and purposeless hands. Despite all the hand studies, only dump employees destroying and you and your crew filming and cleaning did work with their hands. We’ve stopped making and are now busy documenting, cleaning up, storing, and divesting, burying, and forgetting that we ever had this much crap.”

“fuckin BRILLIANT!!!!!!!!! This work is magnificent. You are speaking in non-traditional ways that transcend literal description and enter the realm of great art.”

Idea for a follow-up film, Living Simply [in America]: