Canada on Screen

Manufactured Landscapes

Jennifer BaichwalCanada90 minutes2006GEnglish

Jul 1
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The most accomplished and expansive work of director Jennifer Baichwal's career to date, Manufactured Landscapes was one of the most celebrated Canadian films of the 2000s. Named for a photography book by Edward Burtynsky, whose large-scale images of industrialization are both integrated and imitated by Baichwal's presentation, Manufactured Landscapes offers a terrifying guided tour of a planet whose surface has been reshaped by equal measures of greed, indifference and neglect. The film's unsettling beauty is in line with the ambivalent nature of Burtynsky's work, which has sometimes been taken to task for aestheticizing destruction; like her subject, however, Baichwal assumes that the viewer can handle the complex implications of work that refuses to explicitly spell out its meanings. — Adam Nayman

Paysages manufacturés, qui est l'œuvre la plus accomplie et la plus expansive de Jennifer Baichwal à ce jour, a été l'un des films canadiens les plus primés des années 2000. Tirant son nom d'un livre de photographies d'Edward Burtynsky, dont les images à grande échelle de l'industrialisation sont à la fois intégrées et imitées par Baichwal, le documentaire offre une visite guidée terrifiante d'une planète dont les surfaces ont été refaçonnées par l'avidité, l'indifférence et la négligence, en égales quantités. La beauté dérangeante du film imite la nature ambivalente de l'œuvre de Burtynsky, à qui l'on a parfois reproché d'esthétiser la destruction. Tout comme le sujet de son film, Baichwal part du principe que le spectateur peut comprendre les implications complexes d'une œuvre qui refuse de préciser elle-même sa signification.

Print courtesy of the TIFF Film Reference Library.

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Canada on Screen
Jennifer Baichwal

Jennifer Baichwal was born in Montreal and raised in Victoria, British Columbia. Her documentaries The True Meaning of Pictures: Shelby Lee Adams' Appalachia (02) and Manufactured Landscapes (06) premiered at the Festival. Her other films include Act of God (09), Payback (12), and Watermark (13).