Let’s get acquainted with the story narrated by directors: Lucy Walker, Karen Harley, and Juan Jardim. The “Waste Land” documentary describes the largest landfill in the world – Jardim Gramacho (Garden of Gramacho) on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.
Now in this “garden” only waste of all kinds “grows”.
Two main lines are intertwined in the reportage film – the story of the catadores – people working in a landfill. There are thousands of them, they are engaged in sorting waste.
The second story is about the artist Vick Muniz and how a work of art is born.
At the intersection of these two lines, the main idea of the project is to see how art can change a person’s life.
All the inhabitants of the landfill live below the poverty line and yet they are satisfied with their work, even proud of it, because “this is better than prostitution or selling drugs.”
The junkyard is a miniature world; it even has its own rich and poor. Life here does not stop day or night, here they work, and make friends, and compete, and fall in love, and dine, and drink tea.
Vic Muniz himself grew up in Brazil and also worked in all sorts of small jobs, for example, pushing carts and supermarkets, until one day he noticed the fighting guys and rushed to separate them. During the fight, he received a bullet in the leg, and to avoid charges, the attacker bought him off with money. It was thanks to this amount that Muniz was able to travel to New York, where his career as an artist began.
Now his works are sold for tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars and hang in the largest museums in the world.
Muniz uses non-traditional materials for his creations – dust, sugar, chocolate, precious stones, caviar, toys and… garbage.
So, Muniz goes to the junkyard in order to take photographs of its inhabitants. but in the process of work, he decides to make copies of the great canvases out of these porters, and not only use the catadores as models, but also allow them to participate in the creation of paintings themselves, laying them out of the garbage found in the landfill.
The viewer becomes attached to these simple-minded and sincere people and waits for the end of the story to see what will come of all this: can beauty save at least someone, simultaneously asking himself the question: “What am I doing for others?”
Film achievements: Oscar nomination, Audience Award at the Berlin Film Festival.