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Movie Review: Waste Land

Alternate Title: Art Saves Lives

Story: Who would think that a documentary about the poorest of the poor living amongst Rio de Janeiro's mountains of garbage would end up being inspiring, uplifting and entertaining? Internationally renowned Brazilian born artist Vic Muniz leaves his comfortable home in Brooklyn to journey to the world's largest garbage dump, Jardim Gramacho, located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. He hopes to create a project about the 'catadores' (the self-designated pickers of recyclable materials) and perhaps change lives. His goal is to produce art that sells - the proceeds of which would go back to the pickers.

Through Muniz' journey we meet a handful of these pickers. We hear their stories, learn about their lives and fall in love with them all. That experience alone is great art. Muniz decides to enlarge these picker's lives by creating giant art - out of garbage. He recreates photographically, classic paintings, enlarges the images, and has the pickers assist in creating giant works of art about themselves.

Beautifully directed by Lucy Walker ((http://www.wastelandmovie.com/index.html) this film will inspire you and make you smile. Kudos. Check out Vic Muniz's website here:http://www.vikmuniz.net/

Watch the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWPU5WNgQ2w

Acting: This is a documentary - acting does not count.

Trivia: Lucy Walker is best known for directing four feature documentary films: DEVIL’S PLAYGROUND (2002), BLINDSIGHT (2006), WASTE LAND (2010) and COUNTDOWN TO ZERO (2010). WASTE LAND also premiered at Sundance 2010 and is the first film ever to win the Audience Awards at both Sundance and Berlin, as well as the Audience Awards at Full Frame, Provincetown, Paulinia and Maui film festivals, in addition to the Amnesty International Award at Berlin, the Jury Award at Paulinia, and the $25,000 Target Best Documentary Award at Dallas International Film Festival.

Check out a video of Mr. Muniz as he speaks about his work: http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/vik_muniz_makes_art_with_wire_sugar.html

Predilection: I like art and I like documentaries.

Critters: Livestock, birds and street dogs.

Food: One of the 'pickers' cooks for the workers. She is my favorite.

Soundtrack: Wonderful tunes by Moby.

Visual Art: Sensational

Theater Audience: About a dozen movie goers and us.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I paid attention throughout

Predictability Level: I was optimistic about these lives.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Yes

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen

Length: 100 minutes

LOBO HOWLS: 8.5