The film opens with a monumental, seven-minute tracking shot along a one kilometer corridor in a factory in China, confronting us immediately with the inhuman scale of current industrialization. This is our introduction to the art of the "landscape" photographer Edward Burtynsky, whose large, panoramic and precisely composed photographs are produced on location, bearing witness to massive transformations for humans and nature. We follow the Canadian photographer to his sites in China and Bangladesh.
We see a factory that produces 20 million irons per year; building works at the Three Gorges Dam; tanker shipyards; breathtaking urbanization projects in Shanghai; vast fields of electronic waste and much more, dramatically exposing the catastrophic effects of industrialization. The full aesthetic fascination and horror of Jennifer Baichwals journey to the Burtynsky locations is visualized by the superb camerawork of cinematographer Peter Mettler.