Waste Land (2010)
Critic Consensus: Waste Land begins with an eco-friendly premise, but quickly transforms into an uplifting portrait of the power of art and the dignity of the human spirit.
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Critic Reviews for Waste Land
I do not mean to make their lives seem easy or pleasant. It is miserable work, even after they grow accustomed to the smell. But it is useful work, and I have been thinking much about the happiness to be found by work that is honest and valuable.
It shows us how artists find ideas and concepts for their work from the most unlikely sources, and it demonstrates the power of art to spark curiosity and cultural awareness in even the poorest, most underprivileged people.
This conversion of garbage into humanitarian aid is just the beginning. Practical charity gives way to life-changing intimacy.
The breadth of gratitude these catadores feel towards Muniz and the life-experience they undertake makes for an intelligent, emotional movie.
Waste Land is a real treasure, the sort of heartwarming and life affirming study of people, lacking in both sentimentality and cynicism, that uplifts the audience and elevates the art form
Audience Reviews for Waste Land
A powerful and extremely moving documentary that delves into the creative process of an artist and shows how Art can change people, and the most fascinating is to see the deep, unexpected relationship that grows between the artist and the people who are the subject of his creation.
What happens in the world's largest trash city will transform you.
A touching documentary that truely depicts a great artist and humanitarian. I loved the movie from start to end and it moved me deeply.
Overall I highly recommend everyone to watch this movie, its amazing, and beautiful! Watch it!
Zumbi: "We have to think about the future because I don't want my son to be a picker. Although if he is, I'd be very proud... But I'd rather he be a lawyer to represent the pickers, you know."
Waste Land is a documentary about the Brazilian artist Vik Muniz and his "social work" with workers from the garbage dump Jardim Gramacho. All that poverty is heartbreaking and outrageous in a country with absurd social differences where a few people have a monthly wage that could save lot of families. At the end of the film I could only think how unfair the situation is - Muniz had an amazing and beautiful gesture, but the real changes in the community and their lives were minimal - and felt like that Boris's quote*:
"But what do you do? You read about some massacre in Darfur or some school bus gets blown up, and you go "Oh my God, the horror," and then you turn the page and finish your eggs from the free range chickens. Because what can you do? It's overwhelming!".
Because, what can we do? As the Brazilian filmmaker Joćo Moreira Salles says, it would be an illusion to think that a documentary can change the world and its characters. Vik Muniz did his part and it must be enough.
Other films had already explored this theme like Ilha das Flores (Isle of Flowers, by Jorge Furtado) and Estamira (directed by Macros Prado), both stronger than Waste Land**. This documentary is important to both social and artistic worlds, but it's quite normal as a film. The soundtrack, composed by Mody, sounds superficial and too much melodramatic sometimes. The same happens to some scenes like the one where Vik Muniz, alone in his place, looks to the world globe in his hands with a desolate expression. It's one of those poor scenes where we can almost listen the director saying: take the globe in your hands, look at it, make a sad face, you miss those people, yes, like that, good, that's it . Cut.
* Whatever Works, by Woody Allen.
**There's also the documentary Boca de Lixo, directed by Edurado Coutinho, that I haven't seen yet.
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