ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
Time now for our regular feature dedicated to those of you who prefer your movies without the distractions or the price tags of the multiplex.
Every week, lots of movies make their way onto video, and we turn to Bob Mondello for his latest favorites. This week, Bob recommends a film that was just up for an Academy Award, a documentary called "Waste Land."
BOB MONDELLO: A sprawling landfill in Brazil; hundreds of catadores - trash-pickers - scrambling over a freshly arrived truckload of garbage. They're sorting it into recyclables for $20 a day, barely enough to live on even in the dump.
Hard to believe both the workers and the trash they recycle will be the raw material for a monumental art project.
Mr. VIC MUNIZ (Artist): What I really want to do is to be able to change the lives of a group of people with the same material that they deal with every day.
MONDELLO: Artist Vic Muniz took photos of the trash workers posed in imitation of famous artworks. And then he projected the photos from a scaffold, enlarging them to the size of a basketball court, and had the workers fill in the magnified outlines with recycled trash.
The results? A second set of photos, which sold at art auctions for tens of thousands of dollars each - all used to benefit the catadores - worth nearly as much as the vibrant portrait that emerges of the workers and of their lives. One worker remembers pulling a copy of Machiavelli's "The Prince" from a pile of garbage.
Unidentified Man: (Speaking foreign language).
MONDELLO: And talks of how its tales of the fiefdoms of medieval Florence reminded him of the gangs in present-day Brazil.
Though this is obviously a movie with messages about poverty, recycling, the social impact of art, it doesn't come across as a guilt trip. That said, the filmmakers know you're likely to look at paper and plastic differently once you've seen it. So they've made it possible for you to avoid recycling altogether by making "Waste Land" available as a digital download.
I'm Bob Mondello.