Waste Land

2010 NR 1h 33m DVD

Waste Land

2010 NR 1h 33m DVD
  • Overview
  • Details
Renowned artist Vik Muniz embarks on one of the most inspired collaborations of his career, joining creative forces with Brazilian garbage pickers who mine treasure from the trash heaps of Rio de Janeiro's Jardim Gramacho landfill.
Vik Muniz
Lucy Walker, Karen Harley, João Jardim
Full Screen 1.33:1
English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, English: Dolby Digital 5.1
NR - Not rated. This movie has not been rated by the MPAA.
age 14+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 14+
age 14+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that this documentary explores the challenging lives of incredibly poor people who work in an enormous bleak, smelly landfill outside of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The poverty and hopelessness of the setting are successfully countered, however, by the movie's in-depth portrayal of some of the landfill's residents and some extraordinary people who are committed to helping them. What could be depressing, disturbing, or simply sad (especially for kids not mature enough to discern the complexities of such a situation), is, in fact, uplifting, triumphant, and encourages people to look beneath the surface of victimhood to see the humanity and dignity that lives there. There are references to other options for the landfill workers, which include prostitution, drug dealing and other criminal activity.

Sexual Content

Some discussion of prostitution, i.e. "turning tricks." Some sexy costumes are visible in a parade.


No violence, but some disturbing scenes and subjects. Scenes of poverty: people living in very close quarters, surviving on little food, seeing their children rarely. And sad stories of lost children, illness, and loss.


A few coarse words sprinkled throughout: "s--t," "bulls--t," "crap," "screwed."

Social Behavior

This film is filled with positive, inspiring themes. Creativity and artistry are seen as life-changing, gratifying, and sustaining. Even in situations of abject poverty and hopelessness, people are able to find dignity, as well as times of joy and satisfaction for hard work. Uniting in a common cause as the "association of pickers" can produce profound benefits for all. And, finally, single individuals willing to devote energy, resources, and time can impact the world, especially when they have the support of others.


Not applicable

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

Brief references in conversation to drug dealing, drinking.

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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