2006 | Canada | 90' | DOP: Peter Mettler | director: Jennifer Bauchwa
MANUFACTURED LANDSCAPES is a feature-length documentary on the world and work of renowned artist Edward Burtynsky. He makes large-scale photographs of 'manufactured landscapes' quarries, recycling yards, factories, mines, dams. He photographs civilization's materials and debris in a way people. describe as "stunning" or "beautiful," and so raises all kinds of questions about ethics and aesthetics without trying to easily answer them. The film follows Burtynsky to China as he travels the country photographing the effects of that country's massive industrial revolution. We see factory floors over a kilometre long, the breathtaking scale of Shanghai's urban renewal, and the Three Gorges Dam, a project that has displaced over a million people and is 50% bigger than any other dam in the world. Shot in super-16 mm film, Manufactured Landscapes extends the narrative streams of Burtynsky's photographs, allowing us to meditate on our profound impact on the planet and witness both the epicentres of industrial endeavour and the dumping grounds of its waste. What makes the photographs so powerful is their refusal to be didactic. We are all implicated here, they tell us: there are no easy answers. The film continues this approach of presenting complexity without trying to reach simplistic judgments or reductive resolutions. In the process, it shifts our consciousness about the world and the way we live in it.