Landfill Harmonic

Directed by Graham Townsley and Brad Allgood

"Landfill Harmonic" follows the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, a Paraguayan musical group that plays instruments made entirely out of garbage. When their story goes viral, the orchestra is catapulted into the global spotlight. Under the guidance of idealistic music director Favio Chavez, the orchestra must navigate a strange new world of arenas and sold-out concerts. However, when a natural disaster strikes their country, Favio must find a way to keep the orchestra intact and provide a source of hope for their town. The film is a testament to the transformative power of music and the resilience of the human spirit.


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  • ★★★½ review by Johnny Kashmir on Letterboxd

    An engaging and inspiring documentary about the tenacity of the human spirit in the midst of socioeconomic tension and a testament to metal being the inherent successor of classical music. Not all the subjects it attempts to bring notice to get the attention they might've needed but nonetheless the film's preference to show rather than tell about the issues it brings to light, as well as its unabashed optimism make it a pleasant watch.

    On a side note, the vocalist of the song that plays during the credits was a student of my Spanish teacher, which gave my viewing experience another interesting dimension.

    Verdict: B

  • ★★★★½ review by Michael Strenski on Letterboxd

    This movie made me so happy that I got mad at myself. Then I got annoyed for getting mad at being happy because why shouldn't I give in to a movie that tells an engaging story in a straightforward style? Then I thought about these kids playing Megadeth songs on classical instruments that were constructed out of literal garbage and got happy again. I choose to remain here.

  • ★★★★ review by Chris Hormann on Letterboxd

    Beware - hearts will be warmed, tears will be shed and you will fall in love with a disparate group of young kids from Paraguay as they prove that music is the universal healer and a language to bind us all. Joyous!

  • ★★★½ review by foteini_dl on Letterboxd

    Η δύναμη της μουσικής.

    Και συγκινήθηκα και ζεστάθηκε η καρδιά μου και χαμογέλασα και στεναχωρήθηκα και αισθάνθηκα άβολα.Όλα μαζί.

  • ★★★★ review by Jeremy Burgess on Letterboxd

    [Seen at SXSW 2015]

    Landfill Harmonic doesn't break any new ground in terms of directorial technique or anything like that, but it tells a compelling story, and that's enough.

    The story here is one that some will know: That of the Landfill Harmonic orchestra from Paraguay, a group of kids in a poor community that have learned to play musical instruments made out of garbage from the local landfill. And they play them well.

    There's plenty more to the story, including a guest appearance by Megadeth (which was rad). I'd highly recommend this doc to music lovers and I think everyone will find the story easy to love.

    Note: I attended the SXSW world premiere screening, and the conductor came out after the screening with a few members of the orchestra to play a song for us. It was lovely.

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