Saturday, 16 April 2011

Waste Land - Filmhouse - 5/3/11

These are difficult and challenging times.

War, revolution, violence, depression, recession, repression.

Soaring unemployment.

Cuts, cuts and more cuts.

There isn't a lot of good news.

Cinema offers an escape from can also reflect that reality.

"Waste Land" paints a picture of a reality that is, on the surface, more depressing and challenging than the one we in the "developed" world are experiencing but then reminds us that there is hope.


Artist Vik Muniz was born in Brazil but was offered a chance to study in New York.

He became a very successful artist and a very wealthy man.

"Waste Land" follows Muniz as he returns to Brazil to work with the catadores of Jardim Gramacho, the worlds largest land fill site.  The catadores are pickers...they spend long hours on the Gramacho picking out recyclable materials which are then sold on to large corporations who can then use them in their manufacturing work.  The pickers are, in the main, poor and working in terrible conditions.

As the people behind the "picker" are revealed we learn of mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends of struggles, heartaches and pain.  Slowly they begin to work with Muniz to create art from the garbage they live in and on.  Ultimately they are offered a way out of the life they know and hope bursts into a world which had seemed hopeless.

The art created by Muniz is stunning, moving and powerful.

The stories of the catadores are equally stunning, moving and powerful.

This isn't an environmental film (despite the strong message that many in the environmental movement will pounce on for their own ends) this is a film about people with a message for people who are struggling all over the world.

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