movie film review | chris tookey

Waste Land

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  Waste Land Review
Tookey's Rating
10 /10
Average Rating
6.83 /10

Directed by: Lucy Walker
Written by:

Released: 2010
Origin: UK/ Brazil
Colour: C
Length: 94

Beautiful and inspiring.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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As for Waste Land, don’t be put off by the bleakness of the title. This is not only a highly original picture that deserves to walk off with this year’s Oscar for Best Documentary. It’s the feelgood movie of the year.

British director Lucy Walker, working in the generous-spirited, endearingly humane tradition of Molly Dineen, has made a delightful picture that starts off as an arts documentary but turns into a riveting human interest story.

It’s about the talented and charismatic Brazilian artist Vik Muniz (pictured), who had the bright but potentially exploitative idea of making pictures of the people who live on – and off - the world’s biggest garbage dump, on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.

His idea was to photograph some of the pickers and “paint” them with materials recycled from the dump. However, their characters come so alive during the process that their spirit transforms Muniz’s art – and Lucy Walker’s film – into something uniquely charming, a celebration of human resilience in the face of adversity.

There hasn’t been a documentary this uplifting since 1995’s Hoop Dreams. And it captures much that’s important, transforming and life-enhancing about great art.

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