Manufactured Landscapes

This striking documentary stands over the shoulders of Edward Burtynsky, a Canadian photographer who seeks poetry in the most starkly man-made of locations – quarries, dams, sea-beds littered with the rusting hulks of ships. The film’s dreamy opener is an eight-minute tracking shot along a Chinese factory floor whose bright colours and humans embedded in an industrial setting recall the photos of Andreas Gursky.

But director Jennifer Baichwal strives for more than just a film about an artist. She follows Burtynsky at work (mainly in China) but finds her own beauty in his subjects, whether she’s examining the grey, sprawling cityscape of Shanghai or the ghostly regions of the new Three Gorges dam. The film never entirely breaks free from Burtynsky’s gaze, and Baichwal’s avoidance of explanation is frustrating, but it’s undeniably beautiful and thoughtful.

Release details

Rated: U
Release date: Friday May 9 2008
Duration: 87 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Jennifer Baichwal

Average User Rating

5 / 5

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