I watch a lot of documentaries about art and artists, but I don't recall any that were as inspiring as Waste Land.
Here is the synopsis from the movie's website:
"Filmed over nearly three years, WASTE LAND follows renowned artist Vik Muniz as he journeys from his home base in Brooklyn to his native Brazil and the world's largest garbage dump, Jardim Gramacho, located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. There he photographs an eclectic band of "catadores" -- or self-designated pickers of recyclable materials. Muniz's initial objective was to "paint" the catadores with garbage. However, his collaboration with these inspiring characters as they recreate photographic images of themselves out of garbage reveals both the dignity and despair of the catadores as they begin to re-imagine their lives. Walker (Devil s Playground, Blindsight, Countdown to Zero) has great access to the entire process and, in the end, offers stirring evidence of the transformative power of art and the alchemy of the human spirit."
As an artist I was impressed by the creativity and selflessness of Vic Muniz. He had a vision to create wonderfully huge inspirational works of art, and to also help others. And, he did both very successfully!
As someone who has been interested in recycling since a teenager, and who, with friends while in high school, helped start Ipswich Massachusetts' first recycling center back in the early 1970's through a Junior Achievement project, I was shocked at the lack of a government sponsored recycling effort in Rio de Janeiro at the time Waste Land was filmed. Thank goodness that's going to change in 2012.
You must see Waste Land. It's really incredible!