What Parents Need to Know
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.
- Families can talk about the ability of one man, in this case Vik Muniz, to make a difference in the world. What elements were included in the movie to make Muniz appear like a hero? What do you think was left out? Are there opportunities in your community to "give something back"?
- What is the message this movie sends about art and creativity? Some think the arts are superfluous -- does this movie make a compelling argument otherwise?
- What issues did Muniz have to consider when deciding whether or not todo this project? What do you think happened to the artist and the people after filming ended? Did Muniz make responsible decisions in regard to the pickers?
- What messages does the movie send about the environment and our impact on it?