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The camera tracks through a vast Chinese factory, past aisle after aisle of workers busily making electric irons. The shot seems to go on forever. Is this a real place? Yes. Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky is famous for his large-scale photos of large-scale locations, and in this documentary by Jennifer Baichwal, he and his crew observe the biggest of the big -- Chinese manufacturing plants, entire cities of uniformed workers swarming in and around miles-long buildings. The near-wordless visual essay (slight voiceover) is endlessly fascinating, as well as totally alienating. Just for balance, the filmmakers also follow Burtynsky to a ship-breaking operation in Bangladesh and China's Three Gorges Dam, as well as to the towering city of Shanghai. Welcome to the future. Now get to work (80 min., 2006).


Manufactured Landscapes

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