Sunday, September 23, 2012

Waste Land (2010)

Agg..what an awesome film. Our Cape Town bergies could learn a thing or 2 from watching this hehe..

This was not the kind of documentary with twists and turns but a simple film about ordinary people. What so clearly starts about an artist, Vik Muniz who decides that he is going to create portraits made from recyclable garbage transforms into an incredible tribute to the people who work and sift through the tons and tons of garbage deposited daily on the largest landfill in Brazil. I absolutely loved ALL the characters and was touched by the dignity, emotion and spirit of each and every one of them. The women were especially endearing and I found most of them quite beautiful, the irony not being lost on where they spend their days. There are 3000 “pickers” that work and live in this landfill, clearly very devout and supportive of each other. Even I was amazed at the resourcefulness of the group, with Irma, who has worked there for 30years, feeding her group the most amazing meals from the trash. She boasts of rib stews and roast beefs, being cooked right there on the dump.

It was also very interesting to see where our trash goes after it leaves our door on bin day every week. It was amazing to see what we consider trash is considered very desirable in monetary terms when it lands on the other side. Dont get me wrong, this film does not glorify the job they do, its a hard and stressful life and a means to an end. Most of the women commenting that it was this or prostitution for them.

The end result of Vik Muniz art is also amazing and incredibly beautiful even thou I know nothing about art. I would most definitely love to own a piece myself. The pickers help him with his project and their sense of pride and accomplishment after their portraits are completed is really carried forward to the viewer. I did find the first few 15 minutes hard to watch as I found the artist quite arrogant and was going to turn it off but I'm so glad I stayed with it, was really worth the watch.

You could study these for hours.

I will add that this reminded me of a few years ago, I packed a full black bag of my then baby daughters clothing to give to a friend and left it by the front door. My husband, thinking it was trash, threw the bag into the bin. Needless to say, I was furious and for years, still got pissed off everytime I thought about it. However, I can calmly say all is finally forgiven after watching this film. I can only imagine it was a joyous day for whomever found that bag when it got to our cities landfill.

If you manage to watch this film, also take note of the philosophical quotes to come from Valter, some of them are absolute gems. The movie is in Brazilian so you will need the .srt files if you grab it.

I was gone...

but now Im back. I was shocked to pop in today at my blog and realise that I hadnt posted anything in over a year. I have no clue where the time went and I always mean to blog about new docs Ive seen and then never get around to it. There is an amazing amount of docs doing the rounds of late that Im itching to get my hands on...most important being Searching for Sugar Man I absolutely cannot wait. I have a ton of films I still need to review and I have finally done all I can to get the movies from The Documentary Blog's Top 50 movies of the decade. There are a few that have proved impossible and I can only but hope that I will come across them on my internet travels. I also recently used my eBucks to buy a shit load of documentary dvd's from Takealot that I have never even heard of and Im hoping to find some gems among the lot. Will certainly let you know.

Talking of Takealot, I was most annoyed to hear recently that they are no longer supporting imported dvd's from Amazon so now trying to buy some the brilliant documentaries I watch is going to be an exercise besides being 10x more expensive. So much for trying to cut down on my  illegal downloading lending from friends and trying to support the makers of these movies.!! Moving along...

Please also let me know if anything comes your way that is an absolute must see! ;)

The Elephant in the Living Room (2010)

I decided to mention this awesome doc especially as there have been quite a few stories in the SA news lately of people keeping wild animals as pets namely, Humphrey the hippo who was a like a son to his owner before turning around and killing him and more recently, the Brakpan morons who are raising their tiger as a cat in their home (with 18 dogs nogals). I'm sure it wont be long before we will be reading the same tragic headlines that was bestowed on Humphrey's owner.

Elephant in the Living Room is a tragic tale on uneducated people who keep exotic wild animals as pets. Needless to say, it rarely ends very well. The very fact that its not illegal in some American states to own African wild animals/have permits etc is a travesty. People get these animals as small cuddly balls of fluff but unfortunately, they dont stay that way. Even more sad is that the trade in these animals is a thriving business all over the world.

The doc is based on Tim Harrison, who has made it his lifes work to curb and educate the public on owning wild animals and Terry Brumfield, who happens to own 2 lions that he has raised since cubs. His love for these lions is absolutely undeniable but their living conditions leave you wanting to weep however, you cant help but feel so sorry for the circumstances that Terry finds himself in.

I cant really give any more info on this film without spoiling it but its a MUST see, its brilliantly filmed with unexpected twists and turns that you cant possibly see coming. You also get a small glimpse into the wildlife auctions where every imaginable animal is auctioned and stories of animals being abandoned, released etc when their owners realise they have bitten off more than they can chew. I have always been against the ownership of wild animals but seeing it first hand in this film, has absolutely confirmed to me that it should be illegal in every country worldwide.

Do yourselves a favour and watch this, its brilliant and deserves every award!