A blog dealing with either the joy of cinema or the agony of cinema--nothing in between.
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Vik Muniz was born in the slums of Rio de Janeiro and was able to rise out of the squalor and establish himself as one of the foremost contemporary artists of our time. When looking for a new project, he learned of Jardim Gramacho in Rio, the largest garbage dump in the world. His initial idea was to paint the garbage pickers among the waste but as he worked with them their human stories began to emerge. In Waste Land, the Oscar nominated documentary Lucy Walker followed Muniz and the many pickers for three years as she documented their story. The result is an interesting story that isn't quite worth the treatment it gets. Throughout the film, many of the workers are interviewed and each tells a hard luck story. When all of them tell the same hard luck story, we have a problem of redundancy. I have now seen all of the documentaries nominated for last year's Oscar and this is the only one I'm not recommended. It's not a bad film but unlike the other four it does not understand that you cannot just have a good story to tell, but it is crucial to have a good way to tell it, not just filming it straight up. Vik Muniz is a gifted artist and some great things came out of his work at the Rio dump, but this film wasn't one of them.