Waste Land

"Extraordinary"

Waste Land Review


This thoroughly involving documentary works on two levels: as a profile of an artist and as an exploration of human waste. And it's so cleverly assembled that it's entertaining and challenging at the same time.

Brazilian-born artist-photographer Vik Muniz lives and works in Brooklyn, creating artwork from unusual materials. Now he wants to do something that gives back to his subjects, so he travels to Rio de Janeiro to meet the "catadores" who collect recyclables in the world's largest dump, Jardim Gramacho. And as these people get involved in creating their own portraits out of materials they've gathered, everybody finds that their life is changing.

Filmmaker Walker and co-directors Joao Jardim and Karen Harley assemble a riveting narrative that connects with us on a variety of levels. We see the catadores telling their stories to Muniz, posing for photographs and then working as a team to transform reclaimed trash into magnificent mosaics. As their individual stories start tugging shamelessly on the heartstrings, we're moved by the honest reactions of these earthy, life-loving people.

And all of them have hilariously huge personalities. At the centre is the dynamic young leader Tiao, the pickers' union president. His journey is perhaps the most striking, as he travels to London for his portrait's auction. And Muniz gave him the US $50,000 it earned, plus another $200,000 from selling the other portraits.

To Muniz's surprise, the experience changed the catadores' lives more than the money did. And of course the project changes Muniz himself. This isn't just about the injustice of a class system that keeps people in poverty; it's about the power of the human spirit to survive and even thrive in challenging situations.

Walker assembles this with energy and style, following Muniz and the catadores through the entire process. She vividly captures the vast expanse of Jardim Gramacho from a deeply human perspective. And Moby's musical score adds a wonderful sense of life to the whole thing. And in the end we discover these things along with him, plus a realisation, along with Muniz, that the best way to help people is to give them dignity.



Waste Land

Facts and Figures

Genre: Documentaries

Run time: 99 mins

In Theaters: Friday 21st January 2011

Box Office USA: $0.2M

Distributed by: Arthouse Films

Production compaines: Epidemic

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Fresh: 68

IMDB: 7.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Lucy Walker

Producer: Angus Aynsley, Hank Levine

Starring: as Leo Woeste, as Kathleen, Babetida Sadjo as Aysha, Peter Van den Begin as Johnny Rimbaud, as Jean Perdieus, François Beukelaers as Jozef Woeste

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

It's been 15 years since Vin Diesel walked away from his XXX role, killing off...

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Advertisement
Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.