The boy and I sat down together the other night and watched a perfect movie to complement holiday shopping. Manufactured Landscapes is a documentary which follows Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky through China and elsewhere while he photographs places where humans have made huge impacts on the landscape through industry or manufacturing.
In the opening scene, the camera pans through an enormous Chinese factory for what feels like hours and was really about 5 minutes. Other scenes more haunting included a visit to a beach in Bangladesh where young men tear apart oil tankers by hand, and to the former cities soon to be flooded by the 600 km long reservoir behind the Three Gorges Dam.
The photographs themselves are breathtaking, both shocking and beautiful. The film was fascinating in that it showed the people and a bit more of the story behind the pictures. We got to go to places most people never see.
If you’ve seen Rivers and Tides (artist Andy Goldsworthy – wow), this movie shared that same meditative quality. There was not much narration, just time to soak up some truly alien landscapes.