Screening Room: Waste Land

February 24, 2012 by Peggy | Comments Off on Screening Room: Waste Land

Waste Land Movie Poster

via Waste Land Movie Site

Writing of Mexico City’s pepenadores (trash-pickers) in a recent post brought to mind a wonderful documentary feature I highly recommend to you, called “Waste Land.”  Nominated for an Oscar last year, it was in excellent company, and lost out toInside Job.”

“Waste Land” follows contemporary artist Vik Muniz as he recreates masterworks improbably inspired by the heroic catadores (scavengers) and the heaps of refuse he encounters at Brazil’s largest landfill, Jardim Gramacho, just north of Rio de Janeiro.

Here’s a bit of filmmaker Lucy Walker’s account of her first scouting visit to Jardim Gramacho:

I’d been expecting these pickers to be the scariest of scavengers, murderers and mental-health hardnuts, garbage-vultures in human form. We’d heard this place described as “where everything that’s not good goes, including the people”. Yet this catador was the most charming, funkily dressed man I’d ever seen. This was Valter Dos Santos, and after meeting him my life would never be the same again.

You might think the subject too depressing, but the film is not so much about garbage as about universal truths.  Ultimately it’s an uplifting story about the human spirit and human collaboration, this time in the service of art.

You can stream the movie from Netflix (account required).

UPDATE: Coverage of the closure of Jardim Gramacho in the Rio Times, June 3, 2012.


Plastic State of Mind inspires Flash Mob Down Under

August 30, 2011 by John | Comments Off on Plastic State of Mind inspires Flash Mob Down Under

While the song this video parodies, Empire State of Mind, may be getting a bit old, this video is still very relevant, and our blog just would not be complete without it.

Via BenZolno

It was commissioned by Green Sangha, and has become a viral hit.  More importantly, its been used as a  tool to teach and spread the word via a catchy tune, funny lyrics, and the networking effect of social media.  If it tickles and inspires you, maybe you can organize a flash mob, like these folks in the coastal town of Warrnambool, Australia: