Manufactured Landscapes - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Manufactured Landscapes Reviews

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½ September 7, 2015
Everyone Should See This. Shines An Unflinching Light, With A Simple Photo, Through A Lense, On Our Sapping Of This Planet. It Is Hard To Watch, As Being Part Of The 1st-World, Leaves Me Solely Responsible For Driving The Demand For Material Possessions..Not Sure Where It Will End, But The Landscapes Our Consumerist Culture Creates Is Pretty Darn Ugly. What A Sad Sight...Hrmmm.
June 21, 2015
A good collection of industrial landscapes.
June 5, 2015
A six minute establishing shot that travels seemingly endlessly up the aisle of a gigantic factory is absolutely as excessive as it sounds. While setting the plodding tone for Manufactured Landscapes (2006), director Jennifer Baichwal allows the viewer to undergo a brief version of the same experiential process through which the film as a whole will take them. At first, the viewer may just notice this factory's extensive ugliness and sterility. Then after a couple of minutes they might consider how bored they're getting and maybe that the director wasn't too self-aware to drag this on for so long. Then it hits you: the point is the absurdity of this situation - how unbelievable is this place?? And that amazement continues to unfold itself for the next stunning and nearly unfathomable hour and a half.

The film explores the work of photographer Edward Burtynsky, who presents the other side of globalization and consumerist culture - the industrial and production side - through pointed, yet somehow frequently beautiful imagery that just stares you directly in the eyes, asking you what you think of it. Burtynsky's images are impersonal and highlight the mechanical nature and magnitude of his subjects and their effects on our changing world. The filmmaker however, brings focus to the human element by concentrating on a specific portion of each image - say, an individual at work. The camera lingers there and we invest in them, the day to day that we understand and to which we're generally able to relate. A slow panning out to the image as a whole exposes hundreds just like them lined up at the same work, whose bodies become just parts of a working machine. This removes the humanity and all that we see is mechanized industry.

Baichwal includes commentary from Burtynsky and on-site footage that extract the fundamentally environmentalist views of the photographer, yet eventually highlights his decision to enhance a certain elegance in these scenes. He is allowing the viewer to unravel their own opinion of these nearly unfathomable, eerily beautiful images and their underlying message. Yet the documentarian is contextualizing the imagery and challenging us to consider our reactions to it. She shows us that Burtynsky's decision to keep the message of these images ambiguous is a result of his sensitivity to the very consumerist culture that created these conditions in the first place. He knows that they will be best received in a depoliticized manner that empowers the viewer to come to their own conclusions. This fact incriminates us further through the message that we cannot even be shocked out of our ignorant comfort without it being on our own terms.

This film isn't any sort of exciting thrill-ride; it's a slow, deliberate visual journey through the industrial underbelly of our consumerist culture that few in the western world would likely ever experience otherwise. The amazement the viewer feels is inevitably coupled with a touch of boredom at the calculated slowness of the film, yet your own boredom is like a meta-commentary on the very reasons why we probably didn't know these circumstances exist. It's not exciting, it's uncomfortable and real and sterile. The reality of the situation for those that live it and the world that suffers for it is precisely the polar opposite of our exciting consumer experience they are suffering to create. This film is a compelling rephrasing of Burtynsky's provocative body of work that challenges us to think beyond our daily experience and decide for ourselves what globalization truly means for us and our world.
February 26, 2015
Interesting, but sometimes as boring as watching paint dry ;)
½ August 26, 2014
I did not find the manufactured landscapes beautiful. I found them disturbing. I think the idea and cinematography are great however I found I just didn't really enjoy the documentary as it was disturbing. I realize that is what it is supposed to be however.
June 7, 2013
"Thought provoking and unsettling documentary, which profiles Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky as he travels to China to explore the profound environmental impact of that country's industrial revolution." I think I would classify this as "horror" actually, it's very unsettling and makes me wonder why I bother with my little bit of recycling with the state of things in China. Not much of a "profile" on the artist, he's just there taking pictures and doing the odd voice over. Came across a bit long winded and dry in places, and oddly filmed in black and white in sections which I found distracting. The ship breakers scene in Bangladesh stands out as does the brick by brick (by hand) leveling of entire cities, in order to make way for shipping lanes and the Three Gorges Dam. That was pretty horrifying due to the scale involved. I have seen other (better) documentaries on these subjects and as I said this really doesn't profile the artist at all. 06.13
May 26, 2013
Esse filme é tão assustador que eu não consegui assistir até o final...
March 20, 2013
Beautiful visual carcass of materialistic greed and mankind's callous use of materials, a eulogy of industry and mass production. a documentary that makes you marvel at human dexterity and ingenuity and that extracts wonder and respect for the cycle of creation and destruction at the hands of people but leaves you with a sense of discomfort and consternation about the industrial model and our rush to manufacture landscapes..
March 15, 2013
Mr.burtynsky gave more photography perspective about economic progress vs ecological impact and seems like surreal apocalypse
½ January 22, 2013
Peu informatif dans les mots... Mais un film si important dans les images... Des images qui valent tous les "maux" de la terre.
½ January 6, 2013
Went right over my head.
½ August 12, 2012
if you aren't willing to watch the whole thing, that's fine... it's slow. but at least check this one out if you have netflix.
May 27, 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.
May 11, 2012
eye opening, beautiful images. slow pace which is just right to take it in. these topics should not be rushed thru. contemplative on a huge scale. quality documentary film making. Edward Burtynsky effectively shares his important (albeit dark) message via this educational film.
April 21, 2012
terrible film, no respect innocent people's life!
April 19, 2012
Doesn't seem interesting.
½ 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.
½ March 20, 2012
A short documentary on the work of Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky. He has an excellent eye for composition and shoots disturbingly stunning photos of environments that have been tampered with. As a viewer, you're constantly torn between the beauty of the shot and the change that has been brought about by man. I am not in favor of preachy films on matters political or environmental and am, therefore, grateful to the director for limiting herself to just showing the images without pushing a message. If there is a message in this film, I was able to construct one for myself. Half a star off for a frequently annoying soundtrack interfering with the appreciation of the visual.
½ March 5, 2012
Thanks for bringing me back to earth.
March 4, 2012
Startling. Breathtaking. Poignant. Necessary. Sobering. Masterful.
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