Waste Land - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Waste Land Reviews

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March 30, 2017
one of the best documentaries ever made
Super Reviewer
½ December 26, 2016
A profoundly moving documentary that delves into the creative process of an artist and shows how Art can truly change people, and the most fascinating is to see the deep and unexpected relationship that grows between the artist and the people who are the subject of his creation.
½ September 29, 2016
Pretty good movie, it was just really show and couldn't keep my attention. But, I think it was a beautiful thing that the director did that humanized the workers and lower class
June 4, 2016
Six stars?! mind blowing, must see!!
½ May 14, 2016
Garbage city. good documentary although it was only life on the wasteland i was interested in. Not so keen on the actual art and exhibition. Would watch this as a triology including the Rio bus hold up documentary and a Brazillian football Dvd
½ February 9, 2016
kinda boring and really weird
September 27, 2015
An extraordinary and moving film. Thank the gods for people like Vik Muniz.
August 30, 2015
Emocionante história de uma intervenção artística de Vik Muniz com os catadores de um lixão no Rio de Janeiro. Valoriza a dignidade e o direito de sonhar com uma vida melhor.
August 25, 2015
Great movie. Faith in humanity restored.
August 14, 2015
Enlightening. Inspiring.
½ August 14, 2015
Soooooooo Much Rubbish..What An Amazing But Shocking Sight (To A First World Citizen) All At Once. The Rudimentary Way Trash Is Sorted By Hand Into Treasure, Turning Almost 50% Of It All Into A Recycled Good, Going Back To The Consumers Whom Make It All Happen In The First Place...Little Knowing Of These Faceless, Yet Important Cogs In The Wheel Of Recycling..Until Art & This World Collide. Genuinely Interesting Doco, But With A Real Jagged Edge That Is Hard To Swallow. Loved It, But For Various Reasons In Art Becoming More Than Just An Image But Holding A Story, A Purpose, A Reason To Be..
July 11, 2015
Amazing. A movie everyone should see. Awareness and art.
June 11, 2015
A documentary that is not simply about art. It's about the environment/Earth and it's about the people who live on it. It is an honest film that brought about more cultural awareness. I'm not usually the biggest fan of documentaries as I always feel like things are reached for and exaggerated but this one is touching and powerful in a way that I have not experienced many times before.
March 16, 2015
The story evolves from what appears to be a dry informative bit about an artist's journey to capture pickers in Brazil on film to a gorgeously presented glimpse into the lives of people living in a shadow that obscures their humanity. We see the real effects of art and how it transforms lives of some of the poorest people in the world.
January 1, 2015
In my top 3 favorite Docs of all time.
December 31, 2014
The documentary itself is interesting, but it's not really about the artist Muniz, more about the people he is trying to help and bring attention to.
December 24, 2014
An artist has garbage pickers in Brazil find pieces that he can use to make portraits of the pickers. The film shows the overall difficulty of their lives and follows them as they become involved in the project. Overall, they get a brief reprieve from their world and get a glimpse of art and some attention from the art world. This has a high potential for exploitation, but that wasn't the feeling I was left with. The workers themselves were already rights-oriented and they seemed even more empowered by the experience. They seemed happy to be involved in the project, and of course, it looked hard for them that it couldn't last for long; but the overall message was positive. And the art is pretty impressive. It's definitely worth watching.
November 15, 2014
Excelente documentário!
½ October 30, 2014
A documentary that overstays its welcome during its first half before really focuses in on its subject during its second half. Waste Land is an interesting look at people who work pridefully in conditions that most of us couldn't even imagine and the artist who captured their pride in wonderful pieces of art however the subject isn't really poignant and as such no emotional connection was made .
October 12, 2014
Waste land, directed by Lucy Walker is a documentary that premiered in 2010 which describes the 2 year journey of Vik Muniz as he travels back to his home country to execute a revolutionary artistic experiment. Muniz grew up in Brazil and had the good fortune of being able to travel to the US after receiving a large amount of money after not pressing charges when being shot in the leg one night. Vik then slowly transformed himself into a best selling artist who worked in unconventional materials.
At the time of the filming, Vik was at a crossroads in his career. He had made it as an artist but was searching for something else to focus on that would make the world a better place. His fortune in getting out of Brazil is what got him where he is now as an artist so he eventually decided on an ambitious project photographing the people essentially living in the largest landfill in the world, located just outside of Rio.

Along with his crew, Muniz travels around the landfill photographing some of the pickers and getting other shots of the conditions they have to live in, which is very eye opening while seeing the documentary. From the beginning, the pickers almost seem like savages, as they ran around and climbed on trucks in hopes to find plastic recyclables which they exchange for money at the end of the day. It was almost like the pickers were a different breed of people than Vik. The first scenes in the documentary clearly emphasize this.

Vik is seen in his high class New York apartment and studio, including a scene at the end of him lounging around in his personal library, which has books covering every inch of the walls (which go about 10 feet up). Comparatively, the introduction to the pickers and where they live is just the opposite of Vik. Most of them live in shacks with their entire extend families, and Vik alone has more books on one shelf of his library than the entire picker community, who scour the landfill for reading material in the hopes to someday fund a community library. Dreams like this really change the opinion made about the pickers from the initial first impression of them. Its seen as Vik's journey progresses that these people who appear as savage like when looking through trash, are really just like everyone else, including Vik. They were just dealt a bad hand in their life, and the only "respectable" job they could use to keep their family together was by picking through garbage. I say "respectable" because most of them reference that they could be making much more money through prostitution, but that leads to many more obvious risks to their bodies.

The outcome of the documentary isn't a mystery to anyone who sees it. Its clear from the trailer that Vik succeeds with his initial goal of improving the quality of life of the pickers in the landfill due to proceeds from his auction. The actual portraits aren't a mystery either. So, this might make someone ask, why would I spend 90 minutes watching something that I know the outcome to? Well, while that it a good question, its an irrelevant one. The point of this is to show a journey of people. Not to reveal Vik's success with them. An artist who typically makes $50,000 on one painting created lasting relationships with people who make $20 working 10 hours a day. The implications that has on our culture is unreal because it shows how similar we all really are. Thats a message of equality that isn't told too often, and it really should be, which is why societal actions like this one (done by Vik) are so important to our perception of each other in society.
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