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Waste Land review

Beauty springs from tragedy in this uplifting doc filmed in the world's largest rubbish tip

“The moment when one thing turns into another is the most beautiful,” says crusading artist Vik Muniz in Lucy Walker’s heart-rending doc.

His project? Huge portraits of the destitute recyclers of Brazil’s Jardim Gramacho, the world’s largest tip, where Rio’s refuse – human and otherwise – ends up.

Combing mountains of crap, these indomitable catadores turn rubbish into gold, much like Muniz himself with his found-object collages.

What astounds isn’t their poverty, but their joie de vivre, a reminder of humanity’s ability to transcend its surroundings through art or just plain optimism.

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Freelance Writer

Matt Glasby is a freelance film and TV journalist. You can find his work on Total Film - in print and online - as well as at publications like the Radio Times, Channel 4, DVD REview, Flicks, GQ, Hotdog, Little White Lies, and SFX, among others. He is also the author of several novels, including The Book of Horror: The Anatomy of Fear in Film and Britpop Cinema: From Trainspotting To This Is England.