Thursday, 16 August 2007

Manufactured Landscapes

Nothing illustrates the monstrosity of globalized commerce more vividly than the lateral tracking shot that opens Jennifer Baichwal's mesmerizing documentary Manufactured Landscapes. Maintaining a glacial, Kubrick-like creep for eight minutes of screen time, the camera glides almost a third of a mile through the bubble world of one titanic Chinese factory. Afterward, massed on the street outside in color- coordinated formation as far as the eye can see, the many thousands of employees are robbed of all individuality. Pictorially, though, the image is breathtaking, even playful— Metropolis as designed by Busby Berkeley.

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