Documentary maker Lucy Walker follows artist Vik Muniz from Jardim Gramacho, the world's largest landfill on the outskirts of Rio, to the height of international art stardom.
The world's largest landfill, in terms of the amount of rubbish it processes, Jardim Gramacho deals with 70 per cent of Rio de Janeiro’s waste. Scurrying over the mounds of refuse are hundreds of ‘pickers’, who pluck recyclables and sell them to make a meagre living. NYC-based, Brazil-born photographic artist Vik Muniz visits, to create portraits of pickers using rubbish, and documentarian Lucy Walker profiles his subjects. What emerges isn’t a wan-faced eco polemic, but a quietly powerful testament to the resilience of the poorest of souls. It also serves as a provocative riposte to The Third Man’s Harry Lime, as Muniz snaps desolate landscapes where people scurry like ants, but are revealed as gloriously human in close-up. Challenging and inspiring.
Compelling and vivid, it's another fine piece of work from an up-and-coming talent.
Reviewed by Nev Pierce