»Waste Land questions our prejudices about people living on the edge of society. The film presents its protagonists as people with dignity, in this way opening up a path to the heart of the viewer.«
– Jury statement, Berlinale 2010
Many people live off the rubbish in the Jardim Gramacho. This landfill site lies in an outlying district of Rio de Janeiro, where the poorest of the poor live. They are »catadores« – pickers – and recycle everything that might have some value. This is where Tiao, Zumbi and Suelen live, with whom artist Vik Muniz has cooperated for his largest artistic project so far: Tiao is a charismatic dreamer who founded the pickers‘ cooperative. Zumbi is an intellectual and avid book reader. 18-year-old Suelen has worked in the Jardim since she was seven. She has two children, is pregnant with a third, and is proud that she does not have to work as a prostitute. Under the guidance of Vik Muniz they create a work of art by making portraits of themselves – in the rubbish, made out of rubbish. In the course of this work they change not only their perspectives of themselves, but also their own perspectives of the world.
Vik Muniz, born in 1961 in São Paulo, is considered one of the most important Brazilian artists. He has lived mainly in New York since the middle of the 1980s. He uses a very wide range of materials for his large scale works – including food and rubbish. Vik Muniz has repeatedly committed himself to social causes. In Waste Land, Lucy Walker documents how the installation in the Jardim Gramacho was created.
Film Programme Resistance through Art
Lucy Walker was born and grew up in London. After studying literature at Oxford University she moved to New York and studied film there as a Fulbright scholar at the Tisch School of the Arts. She has made shorts and music videos, worked for children‘s television, and with Devil‘s Playground made an award-winning documentary about Amish teenagers. With Blindsight, which was screened in the Panorama section at the 2007 Berlinale, she achieved international cinema success.
Films by Lucy Walker
Blindsight 2006 | Devil‘s Playground 2003 | Blue‘s Clues 1998 bis 2001 | One Two Three 1998 | RPM 1996 | Panic 1994