© Real Fiction

Waste Land
Brazil/U.K. 2010

Opening 26 May 2011

Directed by: Lucy Walker
Writing credits: Karen Harley, João Jardim
Principal actors: Vik Muniz

This documentary centers on Vik Muniz, age 50, considered to be one of the most important Brazilian artists. He lives in New York and felt he wanted to give something back to society. To do this he traveled to Jardim Gramacho, the largest garbage landfill in Rio de Janeiro where 3000 "pickers" collect recyclable materials. Vik's plan was to mix art with a social project and help change the lives of people using material. He created portraits of several workers using the garbage surrounding them. The workers posed in garbage, with garbage. The photography is so vivid that we can see the smell.

We are introduced to simple workers who, in most cases, had started in Jardim Gramacho as kids, but at least feel that what they do is honest work and that, in spite of their poverty and circumstances, that they did not stoop to prostitution or drug dealing. The stress in the film is always on dignity.

When the project was completed, Vik went to London to auction off one of the best portraits. The sale amounted to 28,000 pounds sterling! The group involved in the project accompanied him, and they felt changed. The proceeds of the auctioned portrait went to the pickers' organization to use for management and social services, education and even a libr (Thelma Freedman)

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