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Jennifer Baichwal's cameras follow Edward Burtynsky (1955- ) as he visits what he calls manufactured landscapes: slag heaps, e-waste dumps, huge factories in the Fujian and Zhejiang provinces of China, and a place in Bangladesh where ships are taken apart for recycling. In China, workers gather outside the factory, exhorted by their team leader to produce more and make fewer errors. A woman assembles a circuit breaker, and women and children are seen picking through debris or playing in it. Burtynsky concludes with a visit to Shanghai, the world's fastest growing city, where wealth and poverty, high-rises and old neighborhoods are side by side. Written by
The movie seems like an afterthought to the photographs...
I recently viewed Manufactured Landscapes at the Seattle International Film Festival. I was drawn to the movie as a photographer because I'm both familiar and a fan of Burtynsky's work. While I believe the movie does a good job getting it's message across, I couldn't help but feel that it was made as a complete afterthought to the photographs and subsequent popular book by Burtynsky. Obviously one reason for this is the extensive use of still photographs featuring zooms and pans across them. While this is a good effect when used economically, I felt like 75% of the movie was just stills from Burtynsky's book (which I already own). That's probably an exaggeration, but that's how I felt. If you own the book or are familiar with his work you might be better off skipping this one.
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