Waste Land, directed by Lucy Walker, is an inspiring and moving documentary about a project undertaken by the sculptor Vik Muniz. He accepted the challenge of returning to his native Brazil to work with the catadores (people who scavange recyclable materials) at the biggest landfill site in the world, just outside Rio di Janeiro.
He gets to know the remarkable individuals who spend their lives doing this dangerous and unhealthy work, but who retain a remarkable spirit and sense of humour. He takes their photos and then works on creating giant canvases reinterpreting these photos using material reclaimed from the landfills, with the catadores involved in the artistic work.
Finally the amazing pictures are sold and the money invested in a learning centre, library and vehicles for Association of Recycling Pickers of Jardim Gramacho - the catadores' union. The work of Vik Muniz and the catadores has ignited a movement in Brazil, currently with the support of the Coca Cola Foundation, to build a legitimate recycling system and hire the catadores in Brazil as consultants.
This is truly inspirational cinema! Waste Land will be showing until Tuesday 10 March at The Filmhouse in Edinburgh.
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