Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

On the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro is Jardim Gramacho, the world's largest landfill, where men and women sift through garbage for a living. Artist Vik Muniz produces portraits of the workers and learns about their lives.


Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 27 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Wasteland (2013)
Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.3/10 X  

Wasteland is set in a world ravaged by a deadly virus and within that world is Scott Miller, a man who, against the odds, is trying to carve out some sort of life. The deadly infection that... See full summary »

Director: Tom Wadlow
Stars: Shameer Seepersand, Jessica Messenger, Mark Drake
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Survivors in the areas hardest hit by Japan's recent tsunami find the courage to revive and rebuild as cherry blossom season begins.

Director: Lucy Walker
Waste Land (2014)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

When his wife gets pregnant unexpectedly, homicide detective Leo Woeste starts losing himself more and more while he tries to solve one last very bizarre case before his child is born.

Director: Pieter Van Hees
Stars: Jérémie Renier, Natali Broods, Babetida Sadjo
Blindsight I (2006)
Documentary | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Six blind Tibetan teenagers climb the Lhakpa-Ri peak of Mount Everest, led by seven-summit blind mountain-climber Erik Weihenmayer.

Director: Lucy Walker
Stars: Gavin Attwood, Sally Berg, Sonam Bhumtso
GasLand (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An exploration of the fracking petroleum extraction industry and the serious environmental consequences involved.

Director: Josh Fox
Stars: Josh Fox, Dick Cheney, Pete Seeger
Wasteland I (2011)
Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 2.7/10 X  

When a group of religious zealots destroy everything that he loves and leaves him for dead; A man embarks on a journey of revenge that will take him through all the post-apocalyptic dangers... See full summary »

Director: Kantz
Stars: Garret Sato, Derrel Maury, Janelle Velasquez
Documentary | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

An investigative documentary about the epidemic of rape of soldiers within the US military.

Director: Kirby Dick
Stars: Amy Ziering, Kirby Dick, Kori Cioca
Documentary | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The story of how an eccentric French shop-keeper and amateur film-maker attempted to locate and befriend Banksy, only to have the artist turn the camera back on its owner. The film contains... See full summary »

Director: Banksy
Stars: Banksy, Space Invader, Mr. Brainwash
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A documentary that chronicles artist and activist Ai Weiwei as he prepares for a series of exhibitions and gets into an increasing number of clashes with the Chinese government.

Director: Alison Klayman
Stars: Ai Weiwei, Dan Ai, Lao Ai
Documentary | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A couple embarks on a journey home for Chinese new year along with 130 million other migrant workers, to reunite with their children and struggle for a future. Their unseen story plays out as China soars towards being a world superpower.

Director: Lixin Fan
Stars: Changhua Zhan, Yang Zhang, Suqin Chen
Restrepo (2010)
Documentary | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A year with one platoon in the deadliest valley in Afghanistan.

Directors: Tim Hetherington, Sebastian Junger
Stars: The Men of Battle Company 2nd of the 503rd Infantry Regiment 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Juan 'Doc Restrepo, Dan Kearney
Inside Job (2010)
Documentary | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Takes a closer look at what brought about the 2008 financial meltdown.

Director: Charles Ferguson
Stars: Matt Damon, William Ackman, Daniel Alpert


Credited cast:


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


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




See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

| |  »





Release Date:

21 January 2011 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

Lixo Extraordinário  »

Box Office


$1,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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


$187,716 (USA) (18 March 2011)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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.
See more »


Featured in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #1.9 (2011) See more »


Written by We(TM)
Performed by We(TM)
Produced by Rich Panciera, Gregor Asch, Ignacio Platas
We(TM) appears courtesy of the Agriculture.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Not a waste to watch
8 March 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Vic Muniz's art has never been as influential as when he decided to spend 2 years at the world's largest landfill outside of Rio. The catadores or pickers became his subjects, a ragtag group of Shakespearean types who love what they do for a living, making something out of someone else's nothing. Waste land is the title for this engrossing documentary about art as few have experienced it till now.

Making a living is what they made until Muniz changed the way they looked a recyclables. He bonded the artifacts with the humans and created memorable portraits of the pickers. A show in London, which they attended, became a catalyst for change in their lives and in the lives of spectators who had no idea Rio's garbage had become Rio's recyclables under the hands of these professional pickers.

Muniz makes sure no one condescends, no one feels sorry for his subjects, some of whom have never known anything but the landfill and others who have chosen it rather than deal drugs or prostitute themselves. Waste Land is as dignified a story about the potential of the poor class to rise out of its garbage and transform it into art and a better life. For this reason, Muniz can stand with the great humanitarians like Albert Schwitzer and Mother Theresa.

18 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
2011 Oscar nominee - Best Documentary marciosantos2000
Not Rated? What's the content like? smccannon22
Rave review for Wasteland seeger23
My interview with Vik Muniz philconcannon
DVD aysen-mustafa
Discuss Waste Land (2010) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page