Waste Land (2010) — Brazil
Waste Land received an Oscar nomination for best documentary for its portrayal of the New York-based visual artist Vik Muniz (b. 1961), who traveled to his home country of Brazil to make art with the 3,000 catadores or garbage "pickers" at the world's largest landfill — Jardim Gramacho near Rio de Janeiro. Muniz, who's famous for making art out of unusual materials like sugar, dirt, diamonds, string, wire and chocolate syrup, and then photographing it, went to the garbage dump to see if his art could be a vehicle for social justice. We meet many catadores who speak of the dignity of hard work, pride in an honest day's wages, the sense of community among the workers, and the environmental consequences of consumption. Many have spent most of their lives there. In particular, Muniz chooses a half dozen pickers to collaborate with him in a large warehouse studio, where together they turn garbage into art about their lives as "pickers," which art is later auctioned in London and exhibited at MOMA in New York. The film illustrates the transformational power of art and the connection of every human being with beauty. In English and Portuguese with English subtitles.