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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
Anything that exposes photographer Edward Burtynsky's socially important and beautiful work to more people is worthwhile.
That said, for me the documentary itself, while very interesting and well made, simply can not compete with the enormous power of Burtynsky's own images. Indeed the best moments in the film are when we see the photos themselves.
While some of what we see of the photographer"s process is interesting, and there is some provocative gentle implied questioning of the distance and lack of humanity in Burtynsky"s photographs, I did not learn much more about the man and his work then when I first happened upon his seeing his photos at a gallery, and then bought several books of his images.
A solid documentary, but not as amazing one.
On the other hand, the extras, particularly the lengthy photo gallery where Brutynsky talks in detail about many of his great images from the film is far more powerful and interesting, and it's absolutely worth getting the DVD for that feature.
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