Hirshhorn Plaza

Waste Land film poster

Film: Waste Land
Introduction and Post-Film Discussion with Vivaldo Santos

Sunday, May 28
2 pm, Ring Auditorium

Filmed over nearly three years, Waste Land (2010) follows renowned Brazilian artist Vik Muniz as he journeys from his home base in Brooklyn to the world’s largest landfill, Jardim Gramacho, located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. While there, Muniz works with an eclectic band of catadores—self-designated pickers of recyclable materials. Initially, his objective is to “paint” them with garbage, but as his collaboration with these inspiring characters grows, he bears witness to a deeper and perhaps more valuable artistic vision. As they begin to re-imagine their lives through art, the catadores—by recreating photographic images of themselves out of refuse—reveal both the dignity and despair of their existence. Director Lucy Walker (Devil’s Playground, Blindsight, and Countdown to Zero) and co-directors João Jardim and Karen Harley record the entire process and, in the end, offer stirring evidence of the transformative power of art and the alchemy of the human spirit. Georgetown University associate professor Vivaldo Santos will lead a discussion following the screening.

This program is made possible through generous support from the Embassy of Brazil.