‘Waste Land’ finds art in garbage
“We are not pickers of garbage; we are pickers of recyclable materials,” said Tião, an impoverished Brazilian catadore, or trash picker.
Tião, like the other catadores profiled in the documentary “Waste Land”, is far from an emaciated beggar.
The film — codirected by João Jardim and Karen Harley, and photographed by Dudu Miranda — observes this giant landfill from every perspective. Viewed from a distance, the pickers resemble insects crawling and slipping over the mountains of trash while scavenging birds circle overhead.
When he takes Tião to an auction in London, where “Marat (Sebastião)” sells for $50,000, the young man weeps uncontrollably. It is the first confirmation from the world outside the dump that their lives matter.