Waste Land, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Filmed over nearly three years, ‘WASTE LAND’ follows renowned artist Vik Muniz as he journeys from his home base in Brooklyn to his native Brazil and the world’s largest garbage dump, Jardim Gramacho, located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.

There he photographs an eclectic band of “catadores” – or self-designated pickers of recyclable materials. Muniz’s initial objective was to “paint” the catadores with garbage. However, his collaboration with these inspiring characters as they recreate photographic images of themselves out of garbage reveals both dignity and despair as the catadores begin to re-imagine their lives. Walker has great access to the entire process and, in the end, offers stirring evidence of the transformative power of art and the alchemy of the human spirit.

Academy Awards 2011- Best Documentary Feature Nominee.

Waste Land, Website

A scene from Lucy Walker’s doc, “Waste Land.” Image Arthouse Films

Viewed from afar it looks like hell. The biggest landfill site on earth, JardimGramacho, is where 70% of Rio de Janeiro’s rubbish ends up. Look closer and you find it is also the workplace of roughly 1300catadores (‘pluckers’), people who survive by selling recyclable materials that they salvagefrom the waste. Caption and Photo Source: Rachel Segal Hamilton

Waste Land, Documentaries could give green tinge to the Oscars