Although this film premiered at the 2006 Toronto Film Fest where it won Best Canadian Feature, was recently voted Best Doc Feature and Best Canadian Film by the Toronto Film Critics Association, and had its U.S. premiere at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, I didn't know anything about it, or it's subject, the renowned landscape photographer, Edward Burtynsky. From Zeitgeist's synopsis:
Internationally acclaimed for his large-scale photographs of “manufactured landscapes”—quarries, recycling yards, factories, mines and dams—Burtynsky creates stunningly beautiful art from civilization’s materials and debris. The film follows him through China, as he shoots the evidence and effects of that country’s massive industrial revolution. With breathtaking sequences, such as the opening tracking shot through an almost endless factory, the filmmakers also extend the narratives of Burtynsky’s photographs, allowing us to meditate on our impact on the planet and witness both the epicenters of industrial endeavor and the dumping grounds of its waste.
It's a tremendous film - a rare example where the documentary's style perfectly matches the work of the subject. It's gorgeous, reverent, and provocative. The scenes of the Chinese factory alone are unforgettable, reminiscent of the brilliant precision of Chris Smith's still undistributed classic, American Job, -- multiplied exponentially. Keep your eye out for it. Seek it out. This film is a must-see.