Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Waste Land Documentary Review


I give Waste Land 5 stars! This was an incredible movie - a must-see. While it didn't directly address solutions to sustainability issues, it is the type of art we need to help stimulate more discussion world wide.  Waste Land is an Academy Award nominee for best feature documentary. Vik Muniz capture the hope and despair of the pickers. 

Waste Land tells the stories of the "pickers" of Jardim Gramacho [Gramacho Gardins] - where 70% of Rio's garbage ends up, and the largest landfill in the world.


2500 pickers search through the landfill for recyclable materials, which independent companies pay them (by weight) to collect.

The pickers make $20-25/day. 

Artist Vik Muniz spends time getting to know the pickers and picks a few of them for his latest art project - portraits made from garbage.

He pays the pickers to collect the materials he will need from the landfill and then to lay out the garbage recreating their portraits. 

Visit the official website here

"Filmed over nearly three years, WASTE LAND follows renowned artist Vik Muniz as he journeys from his home base in Brooklyn to his native Brazil and the world's largest garbage dump, Jardim Gramacho, located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. There he photographs an eclectic band of “catadores”—self-designated pickers of recyclable materials. Muniz’s initial objective was to “paint” the catadores with garbage. However, his collaboration with these inspiring characters as they recreate photographic images of themselves out of garbage reveals both the dignity and despair of the catadores as they begin to re-imagine their lives."
-More about the film here

Read the New York Times review here

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