Clara | Thursday November 28th, 2013
One consequence of globalization is the advent of cheap labor in developing countries. Everyone is aware of that. That millions of workers earn just one dollar a day doesn’t concern anyone if it means that people in the West can be bang up to date in fashion. But, when a big global issue, apparently so out of our reach, has a face and a voice and a name – Jasmine – everything changes. In the documentary CHINA BLUE, by Micha X. Peled, she incarnates the enormous problem of modern slavery, making us feel much closer to it.
The film portrays daily life in a jeans factory in China, where workers have to deal with inhuman conditions and endless working days. On one side, we meet Jasmine and Orchide, two workers who try to survive their daily labor marathon. On the other, Mr. Lam, the owner of the factory, who is obsessed with increasing the number of his costumers and with being as profitable as possible. To this end, he cuts the number of workers and increases output – making employees work under even harder Labor conditions, already abominable, get even worse.
CHINA BLUE was shot without permission of the Chinese authorities, even if this is an essential requirement for any foreign or local filmmaker. According to Micha X. Peled, if they would have asked for permission, they would have sent them to an exemplary factory, where it would have been impossible to reveal what is really happening. So, the crew entered the country as tourists, and they had to shoot with hidden cameras, avoiding the police constantly.
For the lucky ones, war, hunger, inequality, and all the problems of the world in general, are far away and don’t touch our daily lives. But in CHINA BLUE, this other world becomes real and so do the people who live in it; people just like us, who laugh, dream, speak and cry; and it is heartbreaking.
Clara Rodríguez A.