Friday, August 04, 2006

China Blue

Wellingtonians love documentaries. Who would have thought that a film about a small obscure Chinese jeans factory would sell out the Paramount at 3:45pm on a Wednesday! Particularly when there was an evening showing the night before and an extra showing scheduled for the coming weekend. Perhaps Wellington needs its own documentary TV channel.

‘China Blue’ follows the ex-police chief factory owner and two of teenage girls in his workforce for months as they fill overseas orders, where sets of jeans and jackets are sold to a British shop for $US1.40 a set and the profit on a pair of jeans is US20c after paying the workers US6c per hour. If you think you are overworked try up to 17 hours per day, seven days per week with New Year as the only holiday. And keep in mind the slogans painted on the walls such as: "If you don’t work hard today, you’ll look hard for work tomorrow".

The film was made by smuggling the camera into China in pieces. Telling the factory owner than the film would be about China’s new entrepreneurs like him and that filming his staff was just for background information.

It is a jaw dropping depiction of the effect of globalisation and free trade and of life in a society that is far more different than it looks.

Ian’s Rating: 4/5

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