by Jennifer Baichwal
MANUFACTURED LANDSCAPES is a feature length documentary on the world and work of renowned artist Edward Burtynsky. Burtynsky makes large-scale photographs of ‘manufactured landscapes’ quarries, recycling yards, factories, mines, dams. He photographs civilization’s materials and debris, but 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 evidence and effects of that country’s massive industrial revolution. Sites such as the Three Gorges Dam, which is bigger by 50% than any other dam in the world and displaced over a million people, factory floors over a kilometre long, and the breathtaking scale of Shanghai’s urban renewal are subjects for his lens and our motion picture camera.
Shot in Super-16mm 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 his refusal in them 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 judgements or reductive resolutions. In the process, it tries to shift our consciousness about the world and the way we live in it.
2006, Canada, 90 mins.
NOMINATED IN THE BEST DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION AT 2008 FILM INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS.
MANUFACTURED LANDSCAPES - 2007 GENIE AWARD FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY
Winner - REEL CURRENT AWARD at the Nashville Film Festival (NaFF)
Winner - TIFF Toronto-City Award for Best Canadian Feature Film 2006
Winner - Best Canadian Documentary, Atlantic Film Festival 2006
Winner - Best Canadian Documentary, Calgary Film Festival 2006
Winner - Best Feature documentary & Best Canadian Film, Toronto Film Critics Association 2006
Official Selection Sundance Film Festival
REVIEWS AND OTHER MEDIA:
Montreal Mirror, December 14th, 2006
Brutal beauty. Review by Mark Slutsky
Montreal Gazette, December 14th, 2006
Award-winning filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal stands out on horizon after turning her camera on photographer's scenes. Review by John Griffin
Victoria Times Colonist, November 19th, 2006
Glorious wastelands. Review by Michael D. Reid
Ottawaxpress.ca, November 16th, 2006
Beautiful devastation. Review by Matt Harrison
Vancouver Sun, October. 10, 2006
Landscapes that weep toxic tears. Review by Katherine Monk
Globe and Mail, Sep. 29, 2006
Amplifying a wide-angle view. Review by Kate Taylor
National Post, Sep. 29, 2006
Photos worth a thousand frames. Review by Chris Knight
CBC.ca ARTS, Sep. 27, 2006
The Big Picture
A new doc examines photographer Edward Burtynsky’s industrial landscapes
Toronto Sun, Sep. 24, 2006
Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky has seen what we're doing to the world -- and it's not always a pretty picture.
CBC Radio One - Metro Morning, Sep. 19, 2006
Andy Barrie's interview with Burtynsky and filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal.
Classical 96.3 FM
TIFF REVIEW #11: MANUFACTURED LANDSCAPES -- CANADIAN MASTERPIECE
By Mark Glassman
Jennifer Baichwal, director. Peter Mettler, cinematographer. Nick de Pencier, Daniel Iron and Baichwal, producers. Starring: Ed Burtynsky
The powerful and compelling Manufactured Landscapes is ostensibly a portrait of Edward Burtynsky, the celebrated Canadian photographer who specializes in large-scale studies of industrial vistas. But as anyone who's seen Baichwal's previous work would expect, the film is far more than a straightforward portrait of an artist. Indeed, Manufactured Landscapes is as much about the aesthetic, social and spiritual dimensions of industrialization and globalization as it is about Burtynsky and his work.
"What’s a festival without a few eye-popping masterpieces? You can always count on the top rate programming team at the Toronto International Film Festival to come up with an excellent selection of current cinema. So, it’s great to see a terrific film before the festival beginsand a nice bonus that it’s Canadian and a doc, to boot. Jennifer Baichwal, already an award-winning director of portraits of such artists as Paul Bowles (Let it Come Down) and Shelby Lee Adams (The True Meaning of Pictures) has out-done herself with this new film. It’s an incisive look into the working philosophy of Ed Burtynsky, the acclaimed Ontario based photographer. Thoughtful, aesthetic pleasing and politically engaging, Manufactured Landscapes is a great docand a wonderful cinematic experience.
NOW Magazine | September 7 - 13, 2006
By John Harkness
The director of Let It Come Down: The Life Of Paul Bowles and The True Meaning Of Pictures: Shelby Lee Adams' Appalachia follows photographer Edward Burtynsky to China, where he continues his artistic investigation of the large-scale industrial despoliation of nature. There's an irony inherent in Burtynsky's work. On the one hand, he documents ecological devastation. On the other, the terrific photographer finds beauty in these landscapes and is drawn to their striking colours or intriguing compositional angles. One of the things Baichwal does in the film is give us a look at what China's industrial revolution means, and its scale is staggering. The monumental opening dolly shot through a modern factory space has an almost Godard-like grandeur.