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Manufactured Landscapes (US Edition)

55 customer reviews

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(Nov 20, 2007)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In the spirit of such environmentally enlightening hits as AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH and RIVERS AND TIDES, MANUFACTURED LANDSCAPES powerfully shifts our consciousness about the world and the way we live in it.

The film follows Internationally acclaimed photographer Edward Burtynsky whose large-scale photographs of manufactured landscapes quarries, recycling yards, factories, mines and dams create stunningly beautiful art from civilization s materials and debris. The film follows him through China, as he shoots the evidence and effects of that country s massive industrial revolution. Burtynsky s photographs allow us to meditate on our impact on the planet and witness both the epicenters of industrial endeavor and the dumping grounds of its waste.

Manufactured Landscapes works triple-time as a documentary portrait, a tone poem, and a work of protest. The title comes from Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky's 2003 book of the same name. His large-scale images depict the ways industrialization has transformed the environment. Locations include quarries, slag heaps, and dumping grounds. Director Jennifer Baichwal (The True Meaning of Pictures: Shelby Lee Adams' Appalachia) introduces photographs focusing on China and Bangladesh, and then presents Burtynsky in the process of creating them. He adds a few words here and there, but Baichwal mostly lets the people behind his prints--and the devastation that surrounds them--do the talking. Of the sites they visit, China's monumental Three Gorges Dam is the most impressive... and depressing. At the same time the construction has created much-needed jobs, the world's largest engineering project has also displaced 13 cities of over 1.3 million people. To paraphrase Burtynsky, Baichwal's film "searches for a dialogue between attraction and repulsion." With its ominous soundtrack and stately pace--cinematographer Peter Mettler's opening pan through a vast manufacturing plant lasts eight minutes--Manufactured Landscapes is about as far from conventional as a non-fiction film can get. Like Koyanisqaatsi, Rivers and Tides, and Darwin's Nightmare, Baichwal leaves the charts and graphs behind to make one irrefutable point: We're in trouble. Extra features, like deleted scenes (with commentary by Baichwal) and an extensive slide gallery (with commentary by Burtynsky) add welcome context. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Edward Burtynsky
  • Directors: Jennifer Baichwal
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Zeitgeist Films
  • DVD Release Date: November 20, 2007
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000R2GDOS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,884 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Manufactured Landscapes (US Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I didn't know what to expect after the opening 8-minute tracking shot spanned a Chinese factory's considerable length. "Manufactured Landscapes" is about the work of Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky, but this film is unlike any other I've seen on the subject of an artist and his work. Burtynsky has made a name -and many beautiful photographs- in "industrial landscapes". Struck by the ways in which modern humanity has transformed Earth's landscape, he seeks out "the largest industrial incursions" he can find. His photographs are fascinating and surprisingly beautiful representations of the heart of modernization and globalization.

Director Jennifer Baichwal accompanied Burtynsky on several trips to Asia, observing the artist at work and allowing a movie camera to see the industrial landscape as he does. This gives the photographs context that they don't normally have, and Burtynsky takes the opportunity to comment in a spare narration. Baichwal wisely subscribes to the same philosophy as Burtynsky in never interpreting or demystifying the photos. I was pleasantly surprised to see how many of Burtynsky's photographs are presented in the film and amazed at how well the movie footage supports and directs the viewer into them.

After photographing extraction industries for 10 years, Burtynsky turned his attention to China, where all those materials coalesce and are turned into products we consume. We go with him as he documents the rapidly changing landscapes at a factory, a village that recycles "e-waste", a shipyard, coal mine, the incredible Three Gorges Dam, and China's fastest-growing city, Shanghai. A short trip to a shipwrecking beach in Bangladesh is particularly astonishing. "Manufactured Landscapes" showed me things I had never seen before.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Lesser Knowns on June 17, 2008
Format: DVD
Length: 2:15 Mins
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jesse Kornbluth TOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 23, 2008
Format: DVD
The camera is at the end of a long row of workers. It starts tracking to the next row, and the next, and the next. The camera operator's in no hurry, and as the rows continued, I became agitated. I wanted it to be over. To do something, anything, I began to count the rows. Seven minutes later --- this was surely the longest tracking shot in the history of film --- we were at the end of an enormous factory in China.

You want to see this movie --- you need to see this movie --- for many reasons, and scale is the first. We talk about global warming and environmental degradation and maybe we see a picture of an ice cap and a polar bear or a giant landfill, but we rarely see how big these things can be.

Edward Burtynsky is all about big.

He started, decades ago, by wondering what happened to the quarries that produced giant slabs of stone. What he found were excavated masterpieces --- inverted monuments, exactingly carved, extending hundreds of feet into the earth. In their way, they're gorgeous.

In the last few years, Burtynsky has moved on to China, an agrarian country transforming itself, at warp speed, into an industrial powerhouse. That means: a factory that produces 20 million flat-irons a year. The third largest aluminum recycling yard in the world. A dam so big --- the largest ever conceived, by 50% --- that 1.1 million people had to disassemble their homes and evacuate 13 villages so the thing could be built.

Many of these images show factories and apartments that are new and shiny, light years from what we think of as sweatshop workplaces and workers' housing. But don't be fooled. Much of the labor we see is so repetitive that none of us would last an hour.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Oscar Jubis on July 28, 2007
Format: DVD
Jennifer Baichwal's documentary is a companion to renowned artist Edward Burtynsky's large-scale photographs depicting man's violent alteration of natural environments. Burtynsky achieved notoriety when he documented mine tailings, rail cuts, quarries and oil refineries, mostly located in North America. Baichwal shows Burtynsky at a lecture and exhibition of this material then travels to Asia with him to document the process of creating art based on China's industrial revolution. Manufactured Landscapes opens with an amazing tracking shot from the sidelines of a factory so enormous that the shot lasts eight minutes. There are stunning views of recycling yards and mountains of electronic refuse. Manufactured Landscapes takes us to the site of the Three Gorges Dam, 50% bigger than any previous such project, and to the ruins of the eleven cities that had to be demolished to make its construction possible. In Bangladesh, we witness an area that's become the final resting place for old oil tankers, which are being scrubbed clean of oil by teenagers. The central theme of Manufactured Landscapes is that the things we've come to regard as indicative of progress and human advancement have created a huge dependence on the extraction of natural resources that undermines the health of our planet and consequently our own. Beinchwal's documentary doesn't need to lecture because the visual evidence is so compelling and, ironically, so beautiful.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bruno Chalifour on December 30, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"Manufactured Landscape," the DVD and and film by Jennifer Baichwall, a retrospective and introspective documentary on Edward Burtynsky's work is a master piece in itself. The director took esthetic risks that allowed her to actual sign the work so that it is not just about the now world-famous environmental photographer. The film itself is worth watching for its form, and, obviously content. Even the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, Al Gore, enthusiastically endorsed it.

At the core of the film is, of course, Burtynsky's phenomenal work. For anyone who has not yet heard of Burtynsky's aeuvre, this DVD is the best introduction to it that they will ever find. For those who already know his astounding photographs for having seen gallery shows, his touring retrospective exhibition (2003-2005), or read his books, "Manufactured Landscapes" (2003, a catalogue to the retrospective), "China" (2005), and "Quarries" (2007), it is a key-document for the understanding of the philosophy, the esthetics, and the warm and thoughtful humanism of their author.

Everyone who can watch DVDs at home should have this work in their library. By comparison to all owned DVDs this one stands heads and shoulders above most.
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