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Category Archives: Consumerism

Made in Bangladesh

2019 ‧ Drama ‧ 1h 30m

Made in Bangladesh is a 2019 Bangladeshi drama film directed by Rubaiyat Hossain. It was screened in the Contemporary World Cinema section at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival.

Initial release: September 6, 2019
Director: Rubaiyat Hossain
Language: Bengali language

‘Made in Bangladesh’: Film Review | TIFF 2019

Notes by Steve Cook, President, Washington Baltimore News Guild; cookstevend@gmail.com
Tells the story of a garment worker who decides to organize her coworkers into a union after a fire kills her best friend. The young woman, Shimu, has to overcome skepticism from her coworkers, resistance from her husband, double-crossing from a coworker, pressure from her bosses, bureaucratic inertia from the government, and a host of obstacles like we all face.
I want everyone in my shop and other open shops to see this movie. It really lays out what we all face in organizing, but the stakes are clear as day in a way that it often is difficult to communicate to our units. It would be great if it were available in DVDs, so locals could show it, or people could share it in their homes, or pass it around.
The film also highlights the universal struggles unions face anywhere in the world. The things I described above are things we face in our own organizing efforts. I also took away a message of solidarity with working people regardless of their nationality, geographic location, gender, or ethnicity. Their struggle is our struggle. These are messages that people must hear again and again. Cameron Bailey, the TIFF artistic director called Shimu, “the Norma Rae we need now.”
This movie has distribution in France starting Dec. 5 though an outfit called Pyramide International, which TIFF lists as the international sale agent. As far as I know, no one has picked it up in North America. I think it would be ideal for the DC Labor Filmfest, but also would be great if it could get exposure in North America in the meantime. If you have connections in the distribution industry, perhaps you could spread awareness of the movie among them.
The contact information for Pyramide in the TIFF book are sales@pyramidefilms.com, and 0033142960220.
I also am including some links that give you a fuller idea of what Made in Bangladesh is about. I hope I’ve given enough description of how important I think this movie is. Please feel free to contact me for a fuller description or for any way that I may be able to help.
Steve Cook, President, Washington Baltimore News Guild; cookstevend@gmail.com

https://www.tiff.net/events/made-in-bangladesh

Q&A following the TIFF screening.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPNS4XEoZRU

Pyramide International
http://inter.pyramidefilms.com/pyramidefilms-international-catalogue/made-in-bangladesh.html

 

Idiocracy (2006)

Director: Mike Judge
Writers: Mike Judge (story), Mike Judge (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Stars: Luke WilsonMaya RudolphDax Shepard

Private Joe Bauers, the definition of “average American”, is selected by the Pentagon to be the guinea pig for a top-secret hibernation program. Forgotten, he awakes five centuries in the future. He discovers a society so incredibly dumbed down that he’s easily the most intelligent person alive.

 

Robot Somnambulism (2016)

Richard HSIAO
2016 / Taiwan / Documentary / 90min /
Foxconn, the world’s largest electronics OEM factory, manufactured and assembled more than 50% iPhone of the world. In 2010, the serial jumping of Foxconn workers caught attention. People holding iPhone suddenly noticed that it’s producer were working like a robot, acting every 7 seconds, 12 hour a day. They felt a bit uneasy, but cannot loosen their hand. Smartphone has changed human life completely. On the other side, the company supplying touch panels to HTC were suppressing worker union. Union and supporting students choose HTC to protest, making its managers feel embarrassed and aggrieved. Meanwhile, one of HTC engineer died possibly because of overworking. His last message on Facebook was “off work, issue still not resolved”, AM 3 o’clock, Sunday. In this era, robotic people making humanized machine, is it a hopeless tragedy, or the beginning of a brave new world?

 

Plastic China (2016)

China (Director: Jiu-liang Wang) — Yi-Jie, an 11-year-old girl, works alongside her parents in a recycling facility while dreaming of attending school. Kun, the facility’s ambitious foreman, dreams of a better life. Through the eyes and hands of those who handle its refuse, comes an examination of global consumption and culture. International Premiere. THE NEW CLIMATE

 

Buzzard (2014)

97 min | Comedy, Drama | 6 March 2015 (USA)
Director/writer: Joel Potrykus
Stars: Joshua Burge, Joel Potrykus, Teri Ann Nelson

Marty is a caustic, small-time con artist drifting from one scam to the next. When his latest ruse goes awry, mounting paranoia forces him from his lousy small town temp job to the desolate streets of Detroit with nothing more than a pocket full of bogus checks, a dangerously altered Nintendo® Power Glove, and a bad temper. Albert Camus meets Freddy Krueger in BUZZARD, a hellish and hilarious riff on the struggles of the American working class.

NYTimes: Review: In ‘Buzzard,’ an Angry, Unkempt Antihero
An unsparing portrait of an office temp and scam artist near the bottom of the economic food chain.
NYTimes: Joel Potrykus’s Film ‘Buzzard’ Is Inspired by Dead-End Jobs
The writer and director’s deadpan comedies have followed a man-child on the skids.

 

Patch Town (2014)

85 min | Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy | 5 June 2015 (USA)
Director: Craig Goodwill
Writers: Christopher Bond, Jessie Gabe (story)
Stars: Zoie Palmer, Julian Richings, Rob Ramsay

In Patch Town’s dark modern fairy tale, newborn babies are plucked from cabbage patches, turned into plastic dolls, and sold as playthings in a nightmarish, oppressive society. Jon (Rob Ramsay), a discontented factory worker slaving away on a baby-harvesting production line, uncovers a secret from his past that sends him searching for his long-lost mother (Zoie Palmer). As Jon embarks on his journey with his loving wife Mary (Stephanie Pitsiladis), the sinister Child Catcher (Julian Richings) and his diminutive beet-munching henchman (Ken Hall) throw a wrench into his plans. An eye-popping fantasy-adventure, quirky comedy, and rousing musical rolled into one, Patch Town “combines Soviet-era iconography, Eastern European folklore and Western consumer-culture critique with a dash of song and dance” (Peter Debruge, Variety).

The director Craig Goodwill’s musical fairy tale, inspired by Eastern European folklore, features vivified toys that revolt against an unscrupulous corporate overlord.
NYT review

 
 

Traceable (2014)

http://raindancefestival.org/features-2014/traceable/

This documentary examines the fashion industry process, and its conscience, from a designers’ perspective.

This environmental documentary has a powerful ethical story to tell and makes even the most exhausted eye-rollers sit up and listen.

The 2013 collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh put faces on the term ‘garment factory workers’. With this as a backdrop, ‘Traceable’ looks at the local communities behind clothing industries that have retained distinctive crafts for generations. ‘Traceability’ is the aim to have a proper trail for every single step in the supply chain. As well as where, it wants consumers to be concerned with how garments are made. Thousands of hands in the process go untraceable because many farmers, seamstresses and printers simply do not have the technology to be contacted by email or phone.

Director Jennifer Sharpe follows Laura Seigel, a young designer fighting to connect the design world with anonymous artisans. Most designers do not have the time or enough commitment to nurture a direct relationship with the people who make their clothes. This documentary is partly anthropological, as Seigel designs with the creators hand-to-hand and negotiates with them on their own turf. Without being patronising or naive, ‘Traceable’ captures equal and harmonious working partnerships.