Release date:June 20, 2007
The film begins as a portrait of acclaimed Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky, who specializes in large-scale images of vast industrial landscapes. It quickly develops into a meditation on the human and environmental costs of the permanent and profound changes our planet is experiencing. Director Jennifer Baichwal and cinematographer Peter Mettler follow Burtynsky as he explores modern industrial China, a country undergoing an unprecedented transformation into a 21st century powerhouse. With breathtaking sequences that echo the strange beauty of Burtynsky’s photographs – such as the opening tracking shot through an almost endless factory – the film extends the narratives of Burtynsky’s photographs, allowing us to contemplate industry’s impact on land, people, and culture. Its surface is beautiful, its implications frightening. "Manufactured Landscapes" powerfully shifts our consciousness about environmental change without simplistic judgments or reductive resolutions. It captures a brave new world that manages to be both luscious and unutterably repellent, often simultaneously.