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Manufactured Landscapes: A Portrait of Our March Toward Ecological Disaster

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Author Topic: Manufactured Landscapes: A Portrait of Our March Toward Ecological Disaster  (Read 60 times)
Garrell Hughes
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Posts: 3268

« on: August 06, 2008, 09:45:59 am »

Manufactured Landscapes: A Portrait of Our March Toward Ecological Disaster (DVD)
A Film by Jennifer Baichwal's Review (excerpt)
An exquisitely photographed documentary on the stunning photographic legacy of Edward Burtynsky, who specializes in large format vividly colored photos of the artificial landscape of industrialization and its toxic byproducts.

Watching "Manufacutured Landscapes" is a bit like attending an art exhibition. You may want to view it in 2 or 3 sittings. Burtynsky offers occasional narration and insight into his growth as an artist and how he came to focus on the ability of our species to create "manufactured landscapes" of industrial byproducts, many of them toxic.

At first, it may seem a little slow. There is no dramatic narrative here. But the power of the images and the interspersed narration, along with the actual documentary footage starts to swell up into a tidal wave of recognition: men and women have created an artificial construct in which to live, alienated from nature, with results that will come back to haunt us.

Burtynsky's brilliance -- and irony -- is that he can make an endless mountain of discarded tires both ominous and beautiful. There's something breathtaking about massive ships that are "discarded" on the sands of the Southeast, and then dismantled by local cottage industries of poor residents, with the parts and the scrap metal sold or bartered.

Al Gore personally awarded the film the first prize in the documentary category at the Nashville Film Festival, and his presentation is included in the extras.

No doubt some viewers may at first be puzzled by what "Manufactured Landscapes" is attempting to achieve. But give it time and a couple of sittings and it will be a revelation that will rollover you like a tsunami.

This is a documentary that offers visual epiphanies about the post-industrial world, particularly in China.

It is, if you can slow your pace down enough for meditative insight, a beautiful and haunting series of images that will profoundly affect your thoughts on the impact of industrialization.

From the distributor, Zeitgeist Films:

Manufactured Landscapes is the striking new documentary on the world and work of renowned artist Edward Burtynsky. Internationally acclaimed for his large-scale photographs of “manufactured landscapes”—quarries, recycling yards, factories, mines and dams—Burtynsky creates 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. With breathtaking sequences, such as the opening tracking shot through an almost endless factory, the filmmakers also extend the narratives of Burtynsky’s photographs, allowing us to meditate on our impact on the planet and witness both the epicenters of industrial endeavor and the dumping grounds of its waste. 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, without simplistic judgments or reductive resolutions.

Special Features

- Gorgeous 16:9 anamorphic transfer, enhanced for widescreen TVs
- Additional scenes, with audio commentary by director Jennifer Baichwal
- Al Gore and Baichwal at the Nashville Film Festival
- Edward Burtynsky photo gallery, with audio commentary by the artist
- Video discussion with Baichwal and Burtynsky
- Video interview with cinematographer/collaborator Peter Mettler
- U.S. theatrical trailer
- Dolby Digital 5.1 feature soundtrack
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired
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