Recycled Life

Recycled Life. If you think your job stinks, this short film might help put things in perspective. Documenting the lives and work of those who sustain themselves and their families by picking through the 40 acres of Guatemala City's garbage dump, Leslie Iwerks (granddaughter of Ubbe Iwerks — animator, cartoonist, and special-effects technician) focuses her lens on the hazardous conditions and the resulting tragedies for these guajeros. Narrated by Golden Globe-winner Edward James Olmos, the film's poetic script provides balance to the ugliness of circling vultures, heaps of trash, and governmental indifference. Despite the stench, many love the freedom afforded them by their self-employment in the dump and worry that governmental "improvements" will destroy their way of life. Full of facts and figures to examine the problem (apparently to garner support for the charitable programs that educate and offer hope to these families), you may feel that you need to take notes just in case there's a quiz later. Examining the societal causes (illiteracy and poverty) and the effects (significantly reducing landfill) of their work, Iwerks documents the best and worst of human nature. Ultimately, what resonates is the compassion and joy, despite their hardships, in the lives of this rejected populace. (Sunday, November 12, 11 a.m., Cinema Paradiso; 38 minutes.)


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