Garbage Dreams is a Documentary directed by Egyptian Film maker Mai Iskander. It is currently shortlisted for the Best Documentary Feature Award for the 2010 Academy Awards, and deservedly so. It is an interesting film which quietly and matter-of-factly brings together several themes
The movie is about the lives of three young men who live on the outskirts of Cairo in what is perhaps the world's largest garbage dump. About 60,000 Zaballeen (Arabic for "Garbage people") live on the outskirts of Cairo in this town, and for generations have made a living by recycling garbage. Through hard work they have managed to reduce Cairo's waste by about 80%, not through any desire to be green, but because this is how they have always made a living. This is how they have always done things, and the Zaballeen feel that this is their destiny, generation to generation. The pressure placed upon these young men to ignore their desires for a better life and to continue doing what they are "supposed to be doing" is enormous. Unsurprisingly enough, even their own kin feel that they should never dream of anything better, that their destiny is just that, their destiny
Globalization impacts their livlihood when the business of recycling garbage becomes more profitable to more established business interests. The boys are forced to make decisions that will impact their lives and the lives of their families and perhaps their entire community.As all good movie do, this one weaves together large themes with personal stories. It highlights a massive global shift as seen through the eyes of three young men. This movie left me thinking about my own life, about whether I recognize all the forces that are shaping my life, about why I lead the kind of life I do, and about how lucky I am to have the choices I have.
If you happen to have a spare evening in Toronto on March 17th, you can catch a screening of the movie at the Bloor Cinema, 506 Bloor Street West. There's a screening at 6.30, and another one at 9.15.