7.9/10
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Waste Land (2010)

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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.

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

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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

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

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Documentary

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Release Date:

21 January 2011 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

Lixo Extraordinário  »

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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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

[after Tiao's portrait sells for $50,000 at Sotheby's]
Vik Muniz: The most important thing is what you're going to do with this.
Tiao: [in tears] It was all worth it. Everything I did up until now was really worth it.
Vik Muniz: Why do you think you are here?
Tiao: Because once a friend and I had a dream of creating an association. We created the association. It was a crazy dream. Nobody believed in us. Not even my family. Nobody believed in me.
Vik Muniz: This is only the beginning, Tiao. This is only the beginning.
Tiao: I am so happy. God was ...
[...]
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Connections

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

Soundtracks

Do Verde de Coari vem meu gás Sapucaí!
Written by Arlindo Cruz, Mingau, Emerson Dias, Maurição, Carlos Sena, Edu Da Penha
Editora Musical Escola De Samba LTDA.
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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.


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