Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Waste Land - The Movie

"Sebatiao as Marat-Pictures of Garbage" / Photograph by Vik Muniz - Courtesy of Vik Muniz Studio

A couple of weeks ago, I attended the official opening night of the documentary “Waste Land” http://www.wastelandmovie.com/index.html in New York City. Waste Land is a most touching and impressive account of what happens when an artist decides to expand and open his world to some of the humblest and poorest people in the world. Waste Land follows the extraordinary journey of Vik Muniz when he travels to Rio de Janeiro in his native Brazil and immerses himself in Jardin Gramacho, the world’s largest landfill. For those who don’t know Vik, he is one of the most amazing contemporary artists of our time and based in Brooklyn, although he also maintains a studio in Rio.

The extraordinary Vik and I at the official opening of Waste Land at the Angelika Film Center

A still from the movie, Tiao in Jardim Gramacho being photographed by Vik - Courtesy of Vik Muniz Studio

This is Irma, another fabulous woman who still lives and works in Gramacho. The amazing image was captured from the heights in Vik Rio's studio. Pretty impressive! - Courtesy of Vik Muniz Studio

Vik in Jardim Gramacho: love his spirit - Courtesy of Vik Muniz Studio

Vik works with all sorts of different materials when photographing his pieces (for more information, check my older post on Vik here: http://mariagbrito.blogspot.com/2010/02/genius-of-vik-muniz.html), including junk. For three years, Vik worked closely with some of the garbage pickers who live in the landfill. Little did Vik know when he set foot in Jardin Gramacho for the first time that he was going to create such an impact and change the lives of so many people as he did with this project. And little did he know of the profound transformation that meeting the pickers and getting so close to them was going to bring to his own life.

Lucy Walker, the director of Waste Land, also deserves great praise! She got completely involved in the process and as a result, the movie was a beautiful masterpiece. As a bonus, the soundtrack is by Moby!! The movie has already won many awards, including the prestigious Sundance Film Festival Audience Award World Documentary. I was incredibly touched by Waste Land, and everyone else who has seen it agrees with me. It’s one of the best movies of 2010. Don’t miss it!