Friday, 25 February 2011

Waste Land (2011)

This man could be president.

Image: E1 Entertainment

It premiered over a year ago at Sundance and has picked up a couple of gongs along the way, but the critically acclaimed documentary about Brazilian landfill pickers has finally made its way into UK cinemas - a few days shy of Tinseltown’s most prestigious film awards ceremony, at which the film could walk away with the prize for best feature documentary.

Set on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, Waste Land follows renowned modern artist Vik Muniz as he connects with members of a recyclables picking association and gives back to their community by creating portraits of them using the recyclable materials they collect and sell.

Helmed by British director Lucy Walker (Blue’s Clues), Waste Land is the ultimate feel-good, uplifting movie. Lead by association director Tião Santos, the organisation shows us how citizens make ends meet in the city, whilst maintaining their pride and integrity. With little to their names, they rely on one another to survive: they eat together, give blood to save each other, and even go around quoting Machiavelli to one another, and it’s an affecting picture to behold.

With Muniz’s help, Tião and other selected members are able to create works of art that will change their lives, broaden their horizons and inspire them to dream bigger - this is especially highlighted when Tião is flown to London to witness the sale of his portrait at auction (prepare for tears!).

We all have preconceived notions of what people living in inferior conditions are like, but what this film does is naturally capture the beauty of an unassuming, charismatic, surprisingly literate family that will undoubtedly put those notions to bed.

A poignant art attack.

4/5

FG

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