Combustible Celluloid
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With: Edward Burtynsky
Written by: n/a
Directed by: Jennifer Baichwal
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 90
Date: 09/09/2006

Manufactured Landscapes (2007)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Steel Life

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Directed by Jennifer Baichwal, this documentary peeks in on several photo shoots by photographer Edward Burtynsky. Each is a giant, man-made landscape filled with both the majesty and despair of mankind.

The first segment shows a factory that must stretch out for a mile or more; the opening shot tracks along the factory floor without stopping or cutting for several minutes. From there, Burtynsky photographs a dam so large that it registered a blip in the earth's rotation, as well as the Chinese residents who were paid to demolish their own cities so that the dam could be filled.

Each of Burtynsky's subjects is impressive in its scale, but terrifying in its ecological impact. Thankfully Burtynsky himself remains fairly aloof and noncommittal, rather than preaching, about the potential disasters. Regardless, while watching it's hard not to fret about the state of the planet. Director Baichwal shows off several of the finished, very impressive, photographs.

DVD Details: Zeitgeist Films has released this film on DVD, complete with extra footage, a photo gallery, an audio commentary by Burtynsky, interviews, a trailer and optional subtitles. There is also footage of Burtynsky with Al Gore at the Nashville Film Festival.

In 2012, Zeitgeist upgraded this to Blu-ray, which was a good move and looks amazing in the new format. Extras appear to be the same.

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