WL Film Club shows Waste Land

Waste Land is the next film offered by the Williams Lake Film Club.  It will be shown this Saturday, Jan. 15, at the Gibraltar Room at 2 p.m. Back doors open at 1:30 p.m. Admission is $5.

Waste Land is the next film offered by the Williams Lake Film Club.  It will be shown this Saturday, Jan. 15, at the Gibraltar Room at 2 p.m. Back doors open at 1:30 p.m. Admission is $5.

This documentary received a standing ovation at the Vancouver International Film Festival and has taken the audiences by storm wherever it is being shown. It won the Audience Award at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and also received the Amnesty International Film Award at the Berlin Film Festival.

Waste Land  tells the story of Vik Muniz, a Brooklyn-based artist who originally came from Brazil. His is a classic rags-to-riches story of a little boy who grew up in Rio sketching the humidity patterns on his leaky ceiling. He later became famous rather quickly in New York after an ingenious exhibition titled Sugar Children.  Muniz takes photographs and projects them onto studio floors, where he then proceeds to fill in the shadows with mixed materials and thus creates giant artworks that can only properly be viewed from above, at a distance. He now takes this art form to the world’s largest garbage dump, the Jardim Gramacho outside of Rio de Janeiro.  This is to be the crowning glory of his social/art projects. 

His excitement at the challenge is audible as he surveys his destination on Google Earth and traces the outline of a landfill surrounded by favelas, drug-lord-infested gang territories and hovels.

At the dump he photographs an eclectic band of “catadores,” self-designated pickers of recyclable materials.

Muniz chooses Tiao, the head of the Jardim Gramacho workers, Isis, a divorced mother, Suelem, the teenager, and Irma, the landfill cook, as his portrait subjects. They help collect the materials and in a group effort they make art.

His collaboration with these inspiring characters as they re-create photographic images of themselves out of garbage reveals both dignity and despair as the catadores begin to re-imagine their lives. 

Director Lucy Walker has great access to the entire process.

She is careful to portray Muniz as he is, avoiding any cultish promotion of him, and she shows the pickers of recyclable materials as individual entities. This documentary is as much about the “human factor,” as Muniz and his studio manager put it, and the determination of those on the bottom rung of society, as it is about the famous artist.

Waste Land has a quality of inspiration you rarely find.

And a little aside, the Rotten Tomatoes Meter gives it 100 per cent; no one could find even one tiny little rotten tomato to throw in the direction of this film, the first time in my experience.  

See you Saturday.