Manufactured Landscapes

Director: Jennifer Baichwal

Institute History


From its stunning eight-minute opening shot to the remarkable documentation of China's Three Gorges Dam, Manufactured Landscapes is an impressive experience. That's partly due to the size and space of the landscapes, but mostly because of the beauty of the images—their composition and color, a sharp contrast to the film's content: this is a luscious world of destruction.

Ultimately Landscapes is the portrait of one man's voyage as it follows celebrated still photographer Edward Burtynsky on a tour of Asia. Burtynsky takes large-format stills of industrial landscapes: factory workers lined up to infinity, giant ships eviscerated, massive recycling dumps, expansive strip mines. His goal is to portray humanity's relationship to nature as we pursue progress. His images are striking and picturesque, leaving viewers on their own to comprehend the negative global ramifications.

Director Jennifer Baichwal makes insightful choices. The film perfectly balances the images of Burtynsky with those of talented cinematographer/creative consultant Peter Mettler. Burtynsky provides the vision and philosophy, and the filmmakers examine the specific details. And when Burtynsky speaks, he neither celebrates nor condemns but simply explores who we are in relation to our planet. We extract things from the environment to survive, and that is damaging the world.

— Mike Plante

Screening Details

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