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Manufactured Landscapes Reviews

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neverteaseaweasel
neverteaseaweasel

Super Reviewer

November 16, 2009
One of the better documentaries I have seen. It manages to be both socially relevant and provogative, and also very artistic. That seems like quite an accomblishment to me. It did drag on a bit though.
Daniel H

Super Reviewer

June 24, 2007
Long, with little insight into either the photographer or his subjects. A slide-show gallery tour of his work, suited more for a museum installation than a feature-length film.

Regardless, the images are as captivating as any you'll see short of the "koyaaniquatsi" trilogy... buy a book to look at his photos... the movie isn't neccessary.
Harlequin68
Harlequin68

Super Reviewer

May 18, 2010
"Manufactured Landscapes" is a moderately interesting documentary about Edward Burtynsky who specializes in taking photographs of industry and manufacturing in an attempt to warn against the environmental depletion of the planet. The film itself is mainly focused on China which is in the process of transforming itself from an agrarian society to an industrial power. There are consequences to this course of action, especially in the displacement of the population and increased pollution.

As urgent as "Manufactured Landscapes" might try to be, there is little here that we have not seen before.(The exception being the shipwreck beach in Bangladesh which itself could have been the setting for an entire documentary.) Yes, that's a truly awesome trackintg shot that opens the movie but it does little to capture the scale of a factory(and I've been in buildings that large, anyway) and actually becomes a game of seeing which workers notice the camera. Likewise, there have been other films that have covered the Three Gorges Dam in greater detail.
John B

Super Reviewer

January 16, 2012
A worthy effort and the creation of artificial ugly landscapes is something worth viewing if not quite enjoyable. Baichwal however has a history of taking an interesting topic and adding a layer of dullness in ultimate presentation.
meril l

Super Reviewer

June 22, 2007
Phenomenally beautiful. It goes much deeper than An Inconvenient Truth, but it can do that because it's not about stuffing a message down our throats. It's about art, and everyone is entitled to interpret it in their own way. One of the best documentaries I've seen.
hpkt123
June 22, 2007
GATT/NAFTA will come back to visit us all in ways which we can't imagine now. China is far worse off because of greed and exploitation of their people and their land. So are many people and towns in Mexico and Central America.
March 15, 2013
Mr.burtynsky gave more photography perspective about economic progress vs ecological impact and seems like surreal apocalypse
Bill C.
May 25, 2012
Director Jennifer Baichwal seems willing to let Ed Burtynsky's photos tell the story - without preaching or finger-pointing. The dramatic opening pans the length of a Chinese mega-factory and quietly sets the tone for this introspective look at our altered world. Indeed, I occasionally found myself longing for a more explosive Philip Glass-like score.

Baichwal and her DP Peter Mettler often struggle with the murky Chinese light - and undoubtedly long for a bigger budget.
miao w.
April 21, 2012
terrible film, no respect innocent people's life!
April 9, 2012
Okay. So it's a film about a guys photography. But it's more than that. The subject of the photography is essentially not just manufactured landscapes that we build, but also landscapes that are unintentionally created (like mountains of discarded computer monitors in the countryside of China.) It's a fascinating watch. Kind of a slow movie, so I watched it in parts, and had music on/other distractions while I watched it. Very eye opening and a worthwhile watch.
March 5, 2012
Thanks for bringing me back to earth.
April 3, 2011
Startling. Breathtaking. Poignant. Necessary. Sobering. Masterful.
November 10, 2010
Thought-provoking, beautiful and terrifying all at once. This shows how our consumerism is significantly changing our world in meaningful ways - where we live, how we live, and ramifications of our choices.
Harlequin68
Harlequin68

Super Reviewer

May 18, 2010
"Manufactured Landscapes" is a moderately interesting documentary about Edward Burtynsky who specializes in taking photographs of industry and manufacturing in an attempt to warn against the environmental depletion of the planet. The film itself is mainly focused on China which is in the process of transforming itself from an agrarian society to an industrial power. There are consequences to this course of action, especially in the displacement of the population and increased pollution.

As urgent as "Manufactured Landscapes" might try to be, there is little here that we have not seen before.(The exception being the shipwreck beach in Bangladesh which itself could have been the setting for an entire documentary.) Yes, that's a truly awesome trackintg shot that opens the movie but it does little to capture the scale of a factory(and I've been in buildings that large, anyway) and actually becomes a game of seeing which workers notice the camera. Likewise, there have been other films that have covered the Three Gorges Dam in greater detail.
Scott Jonathan
September 7, 2009
The National Film Board of Canada had something to do with this - unbelievable. This should not be a movie. While it may be the case that this guy can take a photograph, he should not be speaking in public; you run the risk of becoming stupider for having heard him.
Stereominate
March 30, 2009
I would preferred a more traditional documentary - then again, I was watching this on a 3-inch screen, so... perhaps the beauty of the photos was lost on me. I was just waiting for the next scene.

Still, pretty thought-inspiring.
bladerunner112
April 27, 2008
This is a thoughtful and introspective Canadian documentary exploring the ideas behind the artists stills collection wherein he brings to life landscapes created by modern industry. I really appreciated how apolitical this movie stayed and allowed me to draw my own conclusions and opinions. It struck me that everything in my life from my car to my tv remote has a story behind it. Perhaps the best movie I've seen that has brought me into modern Chinese culture and life.
Fireball_1
July 19, 2007
[i]Manufactured Landscape[/i] is the perfect example of a film without a voice. In it, we see China through the eyes of a prominent photographer, who scours the world of Chinese labor and manufacturing to take unusually gorgeous images of degradated landscapes and scenery reflecting the results of mass urban consumption and development. We get a taste for the monotony of working in a Chinese manufacturing plant, beginning with a near 10 minute pan across a seemingly never ending line of factory workers and assemblymen, all tirelessy testing comming household products one by one, presumably all day long. While the images themselves are interesting and reflect our own limited understanding of the effects of contemporary progress in an overpopulated environment, the film makes a point of never taking a stance on anything depicted in it. Artistically, the motives of making such a film are muddied because the director and photographer seem so ambivalent as to the subject they're presenting. A film like this could serve as either a broad social commentary or a detached observational piece that simply presents the truth and lets people decide on their own what to think. A commentary it's not, and as a categorical film, it lacks power because what we are seeing are images that are disturbing and haunting, but are rendered breathtakingly beautiful by the photographer, thus undermining any opnionated response to them. Some of the sequences reminded me of [i]Koyaanisqatsi[/i], from the the fluid sweeps across industrial landscapes to the mosaics of trash and melted metal, and I would bet that the film would be more effective if it were just images, and nothing more. Instead, the film's tone is interrupted several times by the photographer's narration, which is delivered Al Gore-style in front of a large college crowd as he's presenting his photographs on a projector. Nothing he has to say is of very much consequence, (as I said his artistic take on the content of his imagery is virtually nil), and he provides little context as to what we are seeing. Throughout the film, we rarely know where we are or who is involved in any of the sequences. I get the feeling that this man is more interested in taking a great photo than he is about what he's presenting in the photo. The result is a film with mixed messages that leaves me more perplexed than inquisitive, more lethargic than impassioned.
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