Manufactured Landscapes is a documentary film that follows photographer Ed Burtynsky at work, while he shoots fascinating pictures of the underbelly of our beast: industrial waste, gigantic manufacturing plants, oil wells, shipyards and mines. Most of the pictures concern China’s extraordinary recent growth and its ecological and social consequences.
Burtynsky doesn’t attempt to polemize. He claims he just portrays our interactions with the rest of nature, as they are -with the same detachment with which we would observe a beaver dam or a bird’s nest. It’s the viewer’s role to judge them. And I must say I had a very hard time processing his images: On one hand, I can’t help but think how absolutely gorgeous they are; on the other hand, it is depressing and horrifying to see this is who we are and this is the footprint we, as humans, leave on the planet.
The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, and it is now showing at several theatres in Toronto, at least during this week. It was well received, so I guess the chances of it running on other places as well are pretty high.