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WASTE LAND

Director: LUCY WALKER, KAREN HARLEY& JOÃO JARDIM

99 minutes| U.K.-Brazil| 2010| Subtitled| Colour| D-Cinema


EXCLUSIVELY AT IFI

This documentary chronicling modern artist Vik Muniz’s unlikely collaboration with the scavengers working Rio’s largest rubbish dump offers some disarming insights into the connections between wealth, self-worth and recycling. Having grown up poor in Brazil, Brooklyn-based Muniz is now an art world success story, famed for recreating old masters using modern materials, but after deciding to give something back to the community, he conceives a project in the massive Jardim Gramacho landfill. He’s expecting to confront human wretchedness on a grand scale, but what Muniz and Lucy Walker’s camera team discover is a proud community of workers making an honest living reselling recyclable materials from the city’s garbage. Having formed their own union is one thing, but a partnership with a famous artist is another level of validation, and seeing them realise their own worth is moving indeed. The issue of Muniz’s responsibility in altering their horizons is not neglected however, making this uncommonly thought-provoking and uplifting. It’s a potent combination. (Notes by Trevor Johnston).

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