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on 31 January 2013
Burtynsky is primarily a phogographer famous for making monumental photographs of landscapes altered by industry: vast oil fields, polluted landscapes, scrapped Leviathans and cityscapes. The grand, awe-inspiring beauty of his images is often in tension with the compromised environments they depict. He has done a lot of work in China where he has documented that country's industrial emergence, including the construction of one of the world's largest engineering projects, the Three Gorges Dam.

The film works as a compliment to Burtynsky's photographic work, featuring an enormous assembly plant in China, a ship-breaking yard in Bangladesh, a huge stone quarry in Vermont, old neighbourhoods in Shanghai waiting to be torn down in favour of east-berlin style housing. It also features a very disturbing account of e-waste cities in China where most of the world's recycled electronic scrap ends up, to be broken up for precious metals by poor people. The groundwater in these cities is so polluted that the Chinese authorities have to bring in drinking water in tankers.

The film manages to impose a powerful sense of how unsteady our world is as we rush toward an environmentally unsustainable future at lightning speed in the pursuit of progress and economic supremacy. Must be seen by all who care about the world we leave to our children.
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on 30 September 2008
Watched this accidently on sky arts. its extremely thought provoking and very cleverly made, on many parts there can be a simple clip of a young worker at a most boring uneventful place and yet it had so much meaning in it. it bassicaly shows the shocking truth and reality to this apparently "wonderful world" we live in and the impact we have not only on the planet but to ourselves.
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on 12 February 2014
First time I came across Burtynsky's photos in UK photography magazine ("Portfolio" No.47, May 2008). I have never seen before anything so strikingly beautiful and yet so ugly. Whereas his photographs are intriguing, surreal and -somehow- beautiful, the documentary shows the whole picture, so to speak. The real cost of introducing modern technologies and the truth about highly developed "civilized" societies. The real cost of enjoying the normal life we do have. Not that all the members of the modern societies are fully aware of all that... Then, I praise the works of Burtynsky even more. A real eye opener.
The landscapes we cannot even imagine, the small but so much needed jobs we do not appreciate at all (or - even do not imagine they actually exist), We tend to complain about mundane reality, but for some people, the reality means something much more horrible and brutal and r e a l l y mundane.
Burtynsky describes his works as "tracing the man-made transformations our civilisation has imposed upon nature". I guess what he has experienced, has made him so humble, as his art (including this documentary) show his vision is more complex. See for yourself. Feel for the people you'll see.
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on 2 September 2015
An insight into the powerful work of Burtynsky (whom I'd not even heard of until seeing this) with haunting images that will stay with you long after you switch off your screen.
It's rather a drifty visual film, as opposed to an in depth exploration, but well worth it just for seeing the horror of what is being done to our planet, and the aching beauty within the complete desecration of the landscapes he photographs.
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on 10 May 2011
Manufactured landscapes has opened up the world as our back yard. We see the actual environmental cost of manufacturing which is otherwise kept hidden. This should be part of Geography lessons in school.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 3 September 2011
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 immediately
bought several books of his images.

A very solid documentary, but not as amazing one.

On the other hand, the extras, particularly the lengthy photo gallery where Brutynsky
himself 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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on 31 December 2009
A very interesting and thought provoking DVD which gives a lot of background information to the work of Edward Burtynsky. Anyone who cares about what we are doing to planet earth should get this DVD and if they care enough, pass the message on to whoever is prepared to listen.
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on 15 October 2009
I concur with the other reviewers: this documentary is very well shot and would stand on its own as an object of aesthetic contemplation (like the photographs of Burtinksy themselves). The social commentary and the relationship between Burtinsky own views and his work are also explored in a subtle yet effective fashion. Highly recommended as an example of what a non-formulaic documentary can be.
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on 2 May 2015
a real eye opener this one, gets better the longer it goes on. if you liked Gasland , or Blue Gold, this is worth it.
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on 4 July 2009
This is an excellent film with an exquisite aesthetic, very timely and tremendously informative. Something that perspicaciously reflects on the world today.
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