15 Nov
A documentary about much more than trash

As I wound my way high up into the deep, dark Bel Air hills I thought to myself, “can’t these people splurge on a damn street sign or two?” It felt like a foreign country, and in a weird way reminded me of traveling around Costa Rica several years ago, where getting directions anywhere sounded something like this: “Walk ten steps, turn at the chicken coop, go straight past the old lady on the rocking chair, turn towards the volcano, and turn again when you see water.” After a few wrong turns I found the house and parked. I’d been invited into this swank community, to a swank home for a private screening of a film about Brazlian “catadores”, basically people who pick through the largest garbage dump in the world in search of recyclable materials. Kind of an odd combo, but who was I to complain?

We sipped our Caipirinhas and settled in to watch the documentary, Waste Land, directed by Lucy Walker (Countdown to Zero, Blindsight) who was there with her producers. I knew very little about this film. I knew I missed it at Sundance in January and that it was supposed to be inspiring, but that’s pretty much it. Not a bad way to head into a flick.

Inspiring is a mild word for what Waste Land is. Several times during the screening I fought back the raging tears threatening to burst from my eyes. Oh, I cried, and I’m OK with crying in public as long as the reason is a film or a ballet or a play of some sort and not some personal meltdown. I just didn’t want to be the girl actually bawling in the living room so loud that no one could hear the film.

Waste Land follows renown NYC-based artist/photographer Vik Muniz as he heads home to Brazil to document the catadores, and eventually turns their photographs into incredible works of art made of the very pieces of refuse they’ve picked out of the dump. Walker and her crew focus on a few catadores, and their stories are both heartbreaking and uplifting at once. It’s an amazing look at the power of art to transcend and transform, as cliché and silly as that sounds. Waste Land is anything but cliché, though. It’s playing at select theaters, and it’s a film you should seek out and see. Or perhaps better yet Netflix it — maybe in the privacy of your own home, so you can cry a little in peace…

WASTE LAND Official Trailer from Almega Projects on Vimeo.

One Response to “Waste Land: the LIAS Review”

  1. Pattaya Blog says:

    I’ve made two visits to Koh Samui during the last seven months it definetly is the most fun holiday you can find.

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