Reaction Paper: Wasteland
August 23, 2011
The film Wasteland follows famous artist Vik Muniz as he visits Jardim Gramacho, a garbage dumpsite in his native country Brazil. There he starts a fundraising project of photographing some of the chosen “pickers” and creating enlargements of the photos made of recyclable materials, he then sells the creations and gives the proceeds to the group. Watching as the project materializes was very inspiring. Most of workers or “catadores” lived a hard life but in their own personal tragedies they never let it stop them from working hard to get where they want to be in life. For even though they admitted picking out recyclable materials, was disgusting they were still so proud of their work and I believe they had a very good reason to be. Their job no matter how unsanitary is very dignified. One of the oldest pickers even said that it was okay to get his hands dirty since when he receives his salary, he knows he got it from dignity. This is a very inspirational statement given the present state of the world wherein human trafficking, prostitution, kidnapping, drug dealing and the like are being used to earn profit. Aside from the high personal integrity brought about by their job they are also immensely helping the environment. I strongly believe there are riches in garbage. I not only give kudos to the pickers but also to Vik Muniz for in his success as an artist he did not fail to look back from where he came from. He did a lot to help the people in Jardim Gramacho rise up from their financial situations. One of the things he said in the film which really got to me was “ I’d rather be the one to have nothing and want everything than to have everything and want nothing.” This depicts how the real sense of fulfillment of a person has nothing to do with gaining worldly possessions.