The rants and raves of a teenage cinephile who is just a little bit obsessed with Catherine O'Hara and Hayao Miyazaki.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Waste Land (2010)

The most wonderful thing about this Oscar-nominated documentary is its unapologetic simplicity. Without a word of narration, a single fancy graphic, or any flashy editing techniques, Lucy Walker's "Waste Land" allows its fascinating subject (artist Vik Muniz's project to create recyclable materials into art in the world's largest landfill, Jardim Gramacho) to speak for itself, which it does with remarkable intensity and integrity. The "pickers" that are interviewed are all so unique and interesting, each one with a different personality and story. The editing is subtle but marvelous, giving just enough spotlight to the stark images of the landfill, but also juxtaposing the beauty of the people and of Muniz's art. Sure, most of why this film succeeds is Muniz's project itself, but the film's simplicity allows the amazing story to truly shine. It may not be as wildly engrossing as "Exit Through the Gift Shop" or as factually important as "Inside Job", but "Waste Land" is still a beautiful and moving piece of documentary filmmaking that is certainly worth seeing.

8/10

1 comment:

  1. You know, I was sort of bummed that the great docs like Prodigal Sons and Last Train Home didn't make the Oscar shortlist, but of the nominated few that I hadn't seen, this one assuredly looked the most intriguing. And you've only piqued my interest more with your review! :)

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