October 29, 2010
Studio: Arthouse Films
Directors: Lucy Walker, Karen Harley, Joao Jardim
MPAA Rating: N/A
Starring: Vik Muniz, Fabio Ghivelder, Isis Rodrigues Garros, Jose Carlos da Silva Baia Lopes, Sebastiao Carlos dos Santos, Valter dos Santos, Leide Laurentina da Silva, Magna de França Santos, Suelem Pereira Dias
Filmed over nearly three years, "Waste Land" follows Vik Muniz as he journeys from his home base in Brooklyn to Rio de Janeiro's Jardim Gramacho, the world's largest garbage dump. There he photographs an eclectic band of "catadores" — self-designated pickers of recyclable materials. Famed for his use of unconventional materials, Muniz's initial objective was to "paint" the catadores with garbage. However, the project evolves into something more interesting, with Muniz hiring the catadores to recreate their images on a huge scale from recycled materials and then photographing them from above. His collaboration with these inspiring men and women as they recreate their portraits out of trash reveals both their dignity and despair as they begin to re-imagine their lives. Director Lucy Walker has great access to the entire process and, in the end, offers stirring evidence of the transformative power of art and the alchemy of the human spirit.