Waste Land (2010)

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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 7,099 users   Metascore: 78/100
Reviews: 22 user | 89 critic | 20 from Metacritic.com

On the outskirts of Rio de Janiro 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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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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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:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Female garbage picker: It's better than during the day, there are less people. It's better than being out there, like a lot of people, prostituting yourself. We are working honestly.
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Featured in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #1.9 (2011) See more »


Music for the Twin Peaks Episode
Written by Stars of the Lid
Performed by Stars of the Lid
Stars of the Lid appears courtesy of Kranky Ltd.
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User Reviews

Waste Land
8 July 2012 | by (Cairo, Egypt) – See all my reviews

A documentary about the international acclaimed Brazilian artist Vik Muniz, who reconstructs photos using garbage materials from Jardim Gramacho, the world's largest landfill in Rio de Janeiro, and with the help of the pickers who work and dwell there. An both artistically tantalizing and sociologically empathizing body of work.

This film has indeed reminded me that it is the one should have used the 4D gimmick which brazenly hyped by SPY KIDS: ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD IN 4D (2011). With a bit odor touch, it could enhance more on the turmoil what we are watching in the landfill, and it is an extraordinary case that the sense of smell could actually have played a more essential role in the film genre.

Anyway, the environment-concerned stress has never been under the spotlight here, being a documentary about art and garbage pickers, one possible pitfall is the condescending inclination, but blithely it is not the case for this film, instead it spends most of time on the individual pickers who are involved in making this project, it captures many poignant moments behind their own stories. No doubt, Vik's work does have a pivotal role of altering the pickers lives, but the film does not overwhelmingly hinge on the process of making those artworks, and which perfectly encapsulates a more sublimated obligation in additional to a general aesthetic percipient, to change the world in a better way, and Vik and his team has done it, a tenacious and awe-inspiring job.

Apart from the riveting story, there are several panning scenes of the landfill are astonishing, our life is linking with garbages everyday, but most of us act like they are thoroughly vanishing from the earth after when they are being discarded in the dustbins. After watching this film, we might be coerced to face some soiled corner of our life which we are selectively and subjectively ignoring, and starts with the most basic one: behave yourself.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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