Manufactured Landscapes

  • 83'
  • Canada
  • 2006
The famous Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky travels around the world recording industrial landscapes on a large format. While his work shows how people exploit nature, his photos also evoke admiration for the monumental beauty that he manages to extrapolate from mines, quarries, factories, offices buildings, dams and other huge human constructions.
Jennifer Baichwal and her cameramen Peter Mettler (also an award-winning film maker) have not made a portrait of the artist as a person. They travel with Burtynsky to China and later Bangladesh, where he records the consequences of the enormous progress in modernisation and industrialisation. She records in moving images and comment on the approach and the photographs of Burtynsky, as it were, while also providing a human context using brief conversations with local bystanders. After a start that can be described as epic, in which breathlessly beautiful footage is used to take the viewer through an endless factory space, the film slowly but surely acquires a disconcerting relevance. Burtynsky pauses by the largest dam in the world, the Three Gorges Dam in the Yangtze River (see also Still Life and Dong by Jia Zhangke), where huge cities were abandoned to meet the energy needs of the new China. Also in the hyper-urbanisation of a city like Shanghai, Baichwal reveals her excellent eye for the issues evoked by Burtynsky’s photographs. As a result, a much more complex story emerges in which questions about our own responsibility are inevitable. (GT)

Director
Jennifer Baichwal
Premiere
European premiere
Country of production
Canada
Production Year
2006
Festival Edition
IFFR 2007
Length
83'
Medium
35mm
Languages
English, Mandarin
Producers
Peter Starr, Gerry Flahive, Nick de Pencier, Daniel Iron, Jennifer Baichwal
Production Companies
National Film Board of Canada, Mercury Films, Foundry Films
Sales
Celluloid Dreams
Cinematography
Peter Mettler
Editor
Roland Schlimme
Sound Design
Peter Mettler, David Rose, Jane Tattersall, Dan Driscoll
Music
Dan Driscoll
Cast
Edward Burtynsky
Local Distributor
Cinemien
Website
http://celluloid-dreams.com/celluloid_dreams_library/m_r/manufactured_landscapes