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Waste Land (2010)

7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 6,129 users   Metascore: 78/100
Reviews: 22 user | 89 critic | 20 from Metacritic.com

An uplifting feature documentary highlighting the transformative power of art and the beauty of the human spirit. Top-selling contemporary artist Vik Muniz takes us on an emotional journey ... See full summary »

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 21 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Vik Muniz ...
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Storyline

An uplifting feature documentary highlighting the transformative power of art and the beauty of the human spirit. Top-selling contemporary artist Vik Muniz takes us on an emotional journey from Jardim Gramacho, the world's largest landfill on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, to the heights of international art stardom. Vik collaborates with the brilliant catadores, pickers of recyclable materials, true Shakespearean characters who live and work in the garbage quoting Machiavelli and showing us how to recycle ourselves. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

What happens in the world's largest trash city will transform you.

Genres:

Documentary

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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

21 January 2011 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

Waste Land  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$8,656 (USA) (5 November 2010)

Gross:

$187,716 (USA) (18 March 2011)
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Production Co:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Valter: [talking about the importance of recycling] People sometimes say "But one single can?" One single can is of great importance. Because 99 is not 100, and that single one will make the difference.
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Connections

Featured in The 83rd Annual Academy Awards (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Not Sensitive
Written by Moby
Performed by Moby
Produced by Moby
Moby appears courtesy of Mute Records Ltd
© 2005 Warner -Tamerlane Publishing Corp. (BMI) and the Little Idiot Music (BMI)
All Rights Administered By Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.
All Rights reserved
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A simply wonderful documentary
3 February 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

An moving documentary highlighting the transformative power of art, and the beauty of the human spirit. Top-selling contemporary artist Vik Muniz rooted in New York decides to give back to a community where he was born and raised. He travels to Jardim Gramacho, the largest landfill in the world on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. With the intention to help the pickers to improve their lives using his art, what starts as an introduction to the devastating poverty and lack of infrastructure in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, begins to transform into a story of unrelenting spirit, strength, and inspiration. Perhaps director Lucy Walker initially intended to make the film about Muniz. If so, her subject led her to a better one; as he returns to Rio to photograph pickers for a series of portraits, she begins to focus on their lives. We see where they live, we meet their families, we hear their stories, we learn of the society and economy they have constructed around Jardim Gramacho, the "Garbage Garden." Zumbi, a member of the association, who began a library from his home from books that had been discarded, Irma, a cook who makes stews and roasts from edible meat to feed the workers, Suelem, an 18-year old girl who has been working in the garbage dump since she was only seven years old, and Valter, an elderly man who entertains with stories and songs and who decides to participate because he believes that "it will raise awareness of all us pickers." Once the initial photographs are made, Muniz projects an enlarged version of each photo onto the floor of his studio and hires the pickers to add refuse from the landfill onto the canvas, photographing the result from overhead. This then becomes the finished art work, ready to be exhibited at auctions and museums around the world-- with the pickers traveling to such cities as London and New York, the first time they have ever left Gramacho. (Heavily debated decision and the possible ramifications.) Life is unpredictable that way. "Waste Land" is a testament that things can go from good to bad in an instant. But they can also improve just as quickly. A social documentary based around a self reliant community of people disregarded and largely ignored, who find unrealized beauty in their everyday work, modern art, and in themselves. I can never again put out my recycling bin without giving thought to how much more this film communicates than just that.


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