Screened as part of NZIFF 2010

Waste Land 2010

Directed by Lucy Walker

Brazilian art star Vik Muniz recycles garbage to make gigantic portraits of Rio’s amazingly upbeat garbage recyclers in this inspiring Sundance Audience Award-winning doco. Music by Moby. “A joy.” — Hollywood Reporter

Brazil / UK In English and Portuguese with English subtitles
98 minutes



João Jardim
Karen Harley


Angus Aynsley
Hank Levine


Dudu Miranda
Heloisa Passos
Aaron Phillips


Pedro Kos




Vik Muniz
Fabio Ghivelder
Isis Rodrigues Garros
José Carlos da Silva Baia Lopes
Sebastião Carlos do Santos
Valter dos Santos
Leide Laurentina da Sailva
Magna de França Santos
Suelem Pereira Dias


Sundance, Berlin 2010


Audience Award (World Cinema Documentary), Sundance Film Festival 2010


Vik Muniz is a Brazilian artist known internationally for composing portraits from such materials as sugar and chocolate syrup and, now, in this totally engaging, unpredictable film, trash. The Brooklyn-based photographer grew up poor and we meet him as he heads home to undertake a series based at Rio de Janeiro’s Jardim Gramacho, one of the world’s largest garbage dumps. His subjects are the catadores who pick through the trash to gather, sort and sell recyclables. The men and women we meet are an inspiring bunch of individuals: cheerful, thoughtful, energetic, and as deserving as any historical figure of the celebration (not to say outright lionisation) that a gigantic Muniz portrait confers on them. Muniz, whose art commands high sale prices, sells work in the series to benefit their Garbage Pickers Association. Brit documentarian Lucy Walker’s film is packed with so much evidence that there’s happiness and dignity at the bottom of the heap that it’s disconcerting. It’s joyful, salutary and troubling all at the same time. — BG

Waste Land is a haunting reminder of the privileged people who carelessly consume and create waste, while the destitute are ultimately left to clean up the mess.” — Katherine Robbie, Salient