Manufactured Landscapes (2006)
Directed by Jennifer Baichwal
Photographer Edward Burtynsky travels the world observing changes in landscapes due to industrial work and manufacturing.
I'd never heard of this film before but was intrigue by the title alone. Being a big fan of landscape photography I had to see what this was all about.
The opening shot I thought was an interesting long shot of a factory. We don't know exactly where it is or what they are really building but we know it's a factory and it shows the great scope of it and how monotonous it is.
I really liked the color yellow and how much of a presence it had in the beginning of the film. The factory workers, the buildings, the flowers and it all leading to the yellow strip down the street. It really is such a bold and attention grabbing image (seen on poster above).
Two shots that really impressed me were near the beginning and near the end when he transitions from what we think we're seeing is something being filmed but it slowly pans back to reveal people looking at a photo he took as part of his exhibition.
It was really interesting and shocking to how the garbage and recycled material actually does become a permanent fixture of the natural landscape. Almost like becoming their own city scapes, hills, mountains, etc. onto their own. It almost doesn't seem too far off from the images we seen in the animated film Wall-E in the beginning of that film, kind of scary when viewed this way.
I loved the pattern and rythm of the factory workers throughout China. At times there was even some A-Symmetrical images being filmed. The photographer Edward Burtynsky really captured that well, and had some amazing and beautiful images of trash, natural resources, and recycled items that to a person not really seeing it in that light would just be simply see those things for what they are. I think he really opened up the viewers eyes to what these factories and the industry in such Countries as China are doing to the environment and how it's normal and unfortunately accepted to have the natural World being swallowed up by the manufactured one.
Another amazing aspect of the film was how China was building this new dam (the largest in the World) and how it required the destruction of towns and villages that have been around for centuries to be wiped right out like they never exsisted to make way for a new river for Cargo ships and Oil Tankerds to come through. I mean I can't imagine what or how these people could start their lives over, and have no choice about it when they've only known one way of life for so many generations. So not only is the landscape effected but the people are as well to be forced to move on for the sake of modern progress. Including the people of Shanghai who live in the poorer areas that are being torn down and are also forced to move to these new complexes to accomodate it's ever expanding population.
Overall it was a fascinating and eye opening look at the industry in China and the effect it has on the natural landscapes and I am glad I watched it. My only minor complaint was the pace of the film was a bit slow at times and I felt the editing could have been tighten up somewhat. But I still thought it was a very good documentary, it definitely made me see things differently that I normally don't see or even know about.