Jennifer Baichwald's stunning film, Manufactured Landscapes, follows photographer Edward Burtynsky around the world, revealing the stories behind his large-format photographs of industrialization.
Beginning with an eight-minute dolly ride through a Chinese manufacturing plant where seemingly endless rows of people and machines are engaged in the assembly of electric irons, the film takes us on a journey through the lifecycle of modern industrial products. From quarries and pit mines in the United States to shipyards of Bangladesh and mountains of e-waste in China, we see the direct effects of our material desires on the environment.
I've long admired Burtynsky's monumental photographs for how they simultaneously evoke sublime beauty and horror. Though depicting real landscapes, the striking colors and forms often look abstract and unfamiliar. They're amazing and impactful, but not personal. The landscapes are not nearby; the people aren't us. Baichwald's skillfull filmmaking immerses us in these places and brings us face-to-face with the people inhabiting them; the ones who make, transport and recycle the products that we buy, consume and discard. While the nominal subject is a brilliant photographer, what makes the film so compelling and unforgettable is that it's really about us.
- See the trailer
- Buy the DVD from Amazon.ca
- US theater date info from Zeitgeist Films
- Film info on Rotten Tomatoes