Brazil’s Jardim Gramacho is one of the largest garbage dumps in the world, and a pretty unusual setting for a documentary about art. But Waste Land is an unusual film, and it will defy your expectations. It is at once an environmentalist film, a profile of the proud workers who exist at the lowest level of society (I’m reminded of India’s Untouchables), and an exploration into the artwork of Vik Muniz, the artist who creates art with the workers and the garbage they collect.
It is the kind of film that tells many stories — all of which are worth hearing on their own — all at once, so you leave the theater with a holistic understanding of the work Muniz has created. Waste Land was released in 2010 — it was nominated for a Best Documentary Oscar the following year — but if you didn’t see it when it came out, now’s your chance to see it on a big screen. And if you have seen it, the screening’s free, and remember how good it is? It’s totally worth a rewatch.
(For Joe Nolan's take on Waste Land and our other picks for top art documentaries, check out this post we put together earlier this month.)