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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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Available platformsMovie