Wasteland is a beautiful and touching documentary as Vik Muniz journeys to his native country Brazil, to Jardim Gramacho, the world’s largest garbage dump. As we get to know the “catadores” or self-designated pickers of recyclable materials, we uncover their dignity and despair. It is a story of how the human spirit can transform garbage into beauty and the power of art to catalyze social change and impact lives. Please go see it!
“We dedicate the movie to Valter, and remember him saying that 99 is not 100. A single can, or a single catador, can make the difference.” … Lucy Walker, January 2010 (director of Wasteland)
Thanks Ufs for the free tix ;)
I love documentaries. All of them look so interesting. Too much talent and too little time to appreciate them all. Here are the movies on my list for DocuWeeks 2010:
Apaporis: Apaporis takes us on a journey through the untrodden, war-locked Northwest Amazon, where we discover the secret knowledge of of Cabiyari and Cubeo indigenous cultures and their insight into nature, life and medicinal and psychotropic plants. With breathtaking images, millenary secrets are revealed such as the preparation of Yagé (“The vine of the Gods”), pulverized coca, and curare, alongside a magical practice to revive dead animals. These communities, besieged by the looming death of their sacred languages and cultures, must now come together to preserve their very survival.
Family Affair: “The ordinary response to atrocities is to banish them from consciousness. Certain violations of the social compact are too terrible to utter aloud: this is the meaning of the word unspeakable.”
—Judith Herman, M.D.
Like a scene torn from The Color Purple or Capturing The Friedmans, this deeply personal and uncompromising documentary examines the complex levels of pedophilia and how it can manipulate and control an entire family for life. FAMILY AFFAIR is also a story about resilience, survival and understanding a child’s capacity to accommodate a parent’s past crimes in order to satisfy a basic longing for family.
For Once in My Life: For Once in My Life is a documentary about a unique band of singers and musicians, and their journey to show the world the greatness—and killer soundtrack—within each of them. The band members have a wide range of mental and physical disabilities, as well as musical abilities that extend into ranges of pure genius. In a cinema vérité style, the film explores the struggles and triumphs, and the healing power of music, as the band members’ unique talents are nurtured to challenge the world’s perceptions.
Louder Than A Bomb: Louder Than a Bomb tells the story of four Chicago high school poetry teams as they prepare for and compete in the world’s largest youth slam. By turns hopeful and heartbreaking, the film captures the tempestuous lives of these unforgettable kids, exploring the ways writing shapes their world, and vice versa. Louder Than a Bomb is about language as a joyful release, irrepressibly talented teenagers obsessed with making words dance, and the communities they create along the way. While the topics they tackle are often deeply personal, what they put into their poems, and what they get out of them, is universal: the defining work of finding one’s voice.
Quest For Honor: The alarming rise in “honor killing,” the heinous act of men killing daughters, sisters and wives who threaten “family honor,” endangers tens of thousands of women in Iraq, Turkey, Jordan and adjoining countries. The Women’s Media Center of Suleymaniyah, Iraq, has joined forces with Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) to end this practice. Quest for Honor follows Runak Faranj, a former teacher and tireless activist, as she works with local lawmen, journalists and members of the KRG to solve the murder of a widowed young mother, protect the victim of a safe-house shooting, eradicate honor killing and redefine honor.
Steam of Life (Miesten vuoro): Naked Finnish men in saunas speak straight from the heart and in the warmth of rusty stoves, cleansing themselves both physically and mentally towards the film’s deeply emotional and unforgettable finale. The film travels through Finland, inviting men of all walks of life in many different saunas to share their touching stories about love, death, birth and friendship—about life. Steam of Life reveals the men’s naked souls in an exceptionally intimate and poetic way.
Waste Land: Waste Land follows renowned artist Vik Muniz as he journeys from his home in Brooklyn to his native Brazil and the world’s largest garbage dump, Jardim Gramacho, located on the outskirts of Rio. There, he photographs an eclectic band of catadores—self-designated pickers of recyclable materials. Muniz’s initial objective was to “paint” the catadores with garbage. However, his collaboration with them, as they recreate photographic images of themselves out of garbage, reveals both the dignity and despair of the catadores as they begin to re-imagine their lives. Waste Land offers stirring evidence of the transformative power of art and the alchemy of the human spirit.
looking for answers to love….
om (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Summer (Zooey Deschanel) believe two different things about love. Tom believes in the one and true love. But Summer likes being on her own; she doesn’t want to be anyone’s anybody. So like any great love story, they inevitably fall in love and Summer becomes a believer in true love, thanks to Tom’s efforts, right?
Well, yes and no. (500) Days of Summer is, as we are warned right off the bat, not a typical love story.
(500) Days of Summer is full of laughter, and even in its saddest moments, it is a truly joyful celebration of life. Director Marc Webb, who previously has worked on music videos, gives the film a rhythm and life all its own through deft use of the soundtrack. Conventional cinematic techniques pop up in unconventional ways – split-screen, and even a little emotional animation. Yet, with all this fun happening onscreen, the movie still raises some serious questions about the very nature of love.
At first, the film appears to skip randomly from day to day. But there is a reason to all this skipping, giving us a fuller picture of Tom’s emotions and messing with the conventional expectations of the romantic comedy genre.
As the film progresses, so does Tom and Summer’s relationship. They continue to grow closer, though Summer maintains a casual attitude while Tom falls completely in love with her. Then comes the inevitable breakup, which leads Tom on a downward spiral until he meets Summer again on the way to a co-worker’s wedding. They have a great time and Summer invites Tom to a party at her house. Finally, Summer has realized what she is without Tom and they are going to live happily ever after! Wrong.
Tom hits rock bottom, gorging himself on Twinkies and whiskey, and finally makes his way back to work where he writes greeting cards. Love has left him a jaded cynic; in a board meeting he explodes into a monologue on the way that popular culture has deceived people to believe in true love: “It’s these cards, the movies and the pop songs. They’re to blame for all the lies, the heartache, everything.”
But though Tom’s speech decries the pop songs and movies that contribute to an unrealistic notion of love, the movie appears to confirm this mentality, with one important caveat. As the trailer warns us, there is no happily ever after, no wedding stopped by a passionate decree of love, no perfect ending. Hurt and heartache still exists, and in that regard, (500) Days of Summer is one of the most realistic recent depictions of romance I’ve seen. Sometimes, for no other reason than life, things don’t work out.
But we shouldn’t forget that Tom and Summer have both brought good things into each other’s lives. Tom showed Summer love in a new way, which she finally realized at the end of the film. Summer injected Tom’s life with a newfound excitement and their break-up led to him finally following his dreams. Not every failed relationship is a failure. Life moves on, leaving an indelible mark that should be embraced and not just forgotten, even as difficult as that may be. When Tom eventually breaks from his stifling job, it may be prompted by anger, but can anyone imagine him quitting at the beginning of the film? He has become a new, more confident person due to their relationship.
The film’s view of love is still a bit lacking. Love in (500) Days of Summer is felt intensely, but when that feeling leaves, so does the love. While this mentality pervades our culture, it rings somewhat hollow here. Without commitment, is love really love?
(500) Days of Summer certainly doesn’t have all the answers about love, but it does pose some important questions about commitment and the emotional toll of casual relationships. It would be easy for a film like this to veer off into an utter condemnation of love, but it clings to the hope that love might just be right around the corner, regardless of past experiences. Even if summer has left a scar, autumn is just around the corner to offer a healing breeze.
Best Animated Short Film: Logorama – comprised entirely of corporate and brand logos. Several storylines that intertwine, including a police chase after an armed criminal. Great attention to detail, super clever, and kinda frightening
“logorama presents us with an over-marketed world built only from logos and real trademarks that are destroyed by a series of natural disasters (beginning with a hurricane, cyclone, tidal wave…). logotypes are used to describe an alarming universe (similar to the one that we are living in) with all the graphic signs that accompany us everyday in our lives. this over-organized universe is violently transformed by the cataclysm becoming fantastic and absurd. it shows the victory of the creative against the rational, where nature and human fantasy triumph.” via designboom
stories told through stop motion – a life in photographs, a funny wolf & pig adventure, and post-it madness!