Waste Lend (2010)



Excellent documentary  that throws light on the work of Vik Muniz, the New York-based Brazilian sculptor, artist and photographer. Born to an impoverished family in São Paulo in 1961, Muniz transforms apparent rubbish and other discarded materials to comment on the waste, exploitation and hidden beauties of life, and Walker follows one of his most ambitious projects. 
Vik Muniz takes us on an emotional journey from Jardim Gramacho, the world's largest landfill on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, to the heights of international art stardom. Vik collaborates with the brilliant catadores, pickers of recyclable materials, true Shakespearean characters who live and work in the garbage quoting Machiavelli and showing us how to recycle ourselves.
The film works on several different levels: as a portrait of the artist, as a record of a project (from conception to completion), as a socio-political commentary (the catadores all come from poor backgrounds) and as an inspirational tale of the human spirit. 

Waste Land is a well made, impressively structured documentary that is by turns thought-provoking, inspirational and deeply moving. Highly recommended.

Across the world's largest garbage dump, near Rio de Janeiro, the pickers crawl with their bags and buckets, seeking treasures that can be recycled: plastics and metals, mostly, but anything of value. From the air, they look like ants. You would assume they are the wretched of the earth, but those we meet in "Waste Land" seem surprisingly cheerful. They lead hard lives but understandable ones. They make $20 or $25 a day. They live nearby. They feel pride in their labor and talk of their service to the environment.