July Staff Pick | Waste Land
Waste Land (Full Frame 2010) is chosen by Associate Interim Festival Director and Marketing Director Emily Foster as this month’s Staff Pick!
“A compelling examination of self expression, Waste Land is unafraid to question the ethics and power dynamics between artists and their subjects head on. Beautifully crafted, the film still deeply resonates with me more than a decade after first viewing. I find myself asking similar questions as a professional working in the arts, while also feeling inspired to celebrate life and the indomitable human spirit.”
Artist Vik Muniz is renowned for making portraits out of unusual objects—sugar, dirt, peanut butter, chocolate syrup. Here, filmmaker Lucy Walker follows Muniz as he returns to his native Brazil—to Jardim Gramacho, the largest landfill in the world, outside Rio de Janeiro. His plan is to create portraits, constructed entirely out of garbage, of the catadores who pick through the rubbish for recyclable items, and to give the profits from their sale back to his subjects. One of the most moving aspects of the project is the relationships he forms with the garbage pickers, as first he takes carefully posed photographs of them, and they in turn join him in the construction of their portraits, transforming huge reproductions of the original photo into collages of trash. The result is a complicated interplay of artistic process, collaboration, and responsibility to one’s subject. Visually striking, the film moves between vast images with panoramic scope and close-ups in vivid detail, holding the human drama and the magnificent artwork in exquisite balance.
Waste Land is available to stream on Kanopy.
Monthly Staff Picks is a regular series where Full Frame team members reintroduce a festival alum to our current audiences.