Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Waste Land

When I heard about the documentary Waste Land (one of the 15 eligible films for this years Oscar award for best feature length documentary) I couldn't help but think of the documentary Garbage Dreams that came out last year.
Waste Land likes Garbage Dreams helps tell the story of massive city dumps, the active recycling industries, and the lives of the people.

So as a result, the basic film stills for this movie might be different, because a huge dump in Cairo (Garbage Dreams) doesn't probably look that much different than one in Buenos Aires (Waste Land).

The story of Waste Land though is unique in that it tells the story of these recyclers ("pickers") through the lens of art. The film focuses on modern artist Vik Muniz who's Brazilian roots take him back on a expansive project to do a project that will make a difference in the life of the impoverished in Buenos Aires.

As an artist Vik Muniz is a photographer who takes pictures using unique mediums for his work, and in this instance he makes larger than life portraits that are a mosaic of trash. An example of this art from this film is pictured (left), and seeing something like this come together is just absolutely amazing.

In this regard, this film reminded me of another favorite documentary, Born into Brothels that paired children of prostitutes with cameras. Here in this film, people who spent their life digging through trash were now co-creators in art that's sale would help them have not only a better future, but also give them the dignity of creation and being a part of modern art.

As a result Lucy Walker (documentary's Blindsight and The Devil's Playground as well as the Emmy nominee for her work on the children's program "Blue's Clues") has put together and directed a fantastic film for those who are either socially or artistically inclined because the artistic power of creation and changed lives is shown in an impactful way, and this documentary just creates another layer to the artful endeavor associated with this film.

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