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Category Archives: Consumerism

Tangled Threads

“Tangled Threads” chronicles labor rights activist Kalpona Akter’s organizing efforts in Bangladesh’s garment industry before and after the Rana Plaza building collapse, which claimed the lives of at least 1,138 garment workers. It does so against the backdrop of two very different worlds: New York’s modeling industry, on the one hand, and Bangladesh’s garment industry, on the other. Produced by STZFilms.

Directed by: Sara Ziff

Sara Ziff is a New York-based filmmaker, fashion model, and labor activist. She co-directed and produced the feature documentary “Picture Me” (2009), which shed light on labor issues in the modeling industry, particularly sexual abuse. Currently she serves as co-founder and executive director of the Model Alliance, a nonprofit labor group for models working in the American fashion industry. Ziff first traveled to Bangladesh in 2012, when she began collaborating with the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity (BCWS) and the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) to try to organize workers across fashion’s supply chain.

https://www.facebook.com/stzfilms

 

 

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Tears in the Fabric

A Documentary Film and Resource Website by Rainbow Collective and Openvizor. In Savar, Bangladesh, Razia struggles to raise two grandchildren after losing her daughters in the Rana Plaza factory collapse, a disaster which claimed the lives of over 1000 garment workers. One year on, Tears in the Fabric follows Razia as, amidst the struggle of raising and educating her grandsons, she searches for resolution and answers through protest on the streets of Dhaka and amongst the rubble and torn fabrics of Rana Plaza. Tears in the Fabric offers a starkly honest and deeply moving view of the human cost of high street fashion.

Directed by: The Rainbow Collective, UK

http://www.rainbowcollective.co.uk/#!tears-in-the-fabric/c1zdc

 

 

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A Killer Bargain (2006)

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Directed by: Tom Heinemann
Documentary Feature (57 minutes)

A Killer Bargain refers to the availability of cheap consumer goods, imported by Western companies, whose prices don’t reflect the human and environmental costs of their production. Consumers remain unaware of the conditions under which the goods they buy are produced. This film makes those connections shockingly clear. Would you buy that batik tablecloth if you knew the children making it were working with cancer-causing solutions everyday?

 
 

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A Job at Ford’s: PBS Great Depression Series (1993)

PBS Great Depression Series, #1

Producer: WGBH, Boston

Narrator: Joe Morton

51 minutes

The first film in the WGBH Great Depression Series, this documentary uses the rise of the Ford system of manufacturing and workplace control as a prism into the onset of the socioeconomic cataclysm by the end of the 1920s known as the Great Depression. Stocked with oral histories with workers, managers, and working-class families, as well as archival film footage, it analyzes the ways in which the automobile, as a product of labor and a catalyst for deep transformations in American society, dominated American life and dictated its economic fortunes. Cars offered far greater access to travel and cultural experiences, especially for women and rural residents, than ever before. Auto work also attracted migrants from across the country, as well as from Mexico, to manufacturing centers in Detroit and the industrial North. Crucially, “A Job at Ford’s” illustrates the repressive labor-relations system that governed not only the workplace environment of auto workers, but also the daily lives of their families in order to ensure compliance with Henry Ford’s desires for social control. Additionally, the film devotes ample time to Ford’s anti-Semitic, racist beliefs, to the worsening conditions of the Depressions, the struggles of everyday people to survive largely without the direct help of the federal government, and the community-based efforts of political radicals and neighborhood groups to respond to the crises. Culminating with the Ford Hunger March in which Ford security guards killed four marchers and wounded over sixty others, the film conveys violence as not only a real threat to organizing at this time, but also a thread through, and force mitigating, working-class daily life in the early twentieth century.

 

Dreamwork China (2013)

55m
written/directed by Tommaso Facchin and Ivan Franceschini
website

The dreams and rights of a new generation in the world’s factory. In the suburbs of Shenzhen, in Guangdong province, young workers talk about their lives, existences built on a precarious balance between hope, struggles and wishes for the future. Around them activists and ZNGOs strive to give sense and meaning to works like rights, dignity and equity.

 

Compliance (2012)

90m; U.S.

Director: Craig Zobel

Cast: Ann Dowd, Dreama Walker and Pat Healy

Synopsis: “In the middle of a bad day Sandra (Ann Dowd), the harried manager of a fast-food franchise, receives a phone call from a man claiming to be a police officer. He accuses an employee named Becky (Dreama Walker) of theft and instructs Sandra to subject the pretty teenager to a series of humiliations: detain her in the stock room, confiscate her belongings, conduct a strip search and on and on. As the title suggests, at each step of this increasingly elaborate and unnerving hoax, Sandra and Becky do what they are told.”

‘Compliance’ Raises Questions About Human Behavior; NYT 8/10/2012

Trailer

 

They Live (1988)

93m; U.S.

Director: John Carpenter

Cast: Roddy PiperKeith David and Meg Foster

Synopsis (IMDB): Nada, a down-on-his-luck construction worker, discovers a pair of special sunglasses. Wearing them, he is able to see the world as it really is: people being bombarded by media and government with messages like “Stay Asleep”, “No Imagination”, “Submit to Authority”. Even scarier is that he is able to see that some usually normal-looking people are in fact ugly aliens in charge of the massive campaign to keep humans subdued.

 
 

Two or Three Things I Know About Her (2 ou 3 choses que je sais d’elle) [1967]

90m; France

Director: Jean-Luc Godard

Cast: Joseph Gehrard, Marina Vlady and Anny Duperey

Synopsis: Prostitution becomes a metaphor for marriage and for working class; selling one’s body for food, shelter and consumer goods.

 

Umbrella (2007)

93m;
Director: Du Haibin
Contact: http://icarusfilms.com/new2008/umb.html
lori@icarusfilms.com

The program of economic reforms initiated in China in 1978 by Deng Xiaoping aimed to finance the modernization of the nation. But what Communist Party leaders called “Socialism with Chinese characteristics” looked suspiciously to many as a return to capitalism. Today, some three decades later, the results of those sweeping economic reforms have become plainly visible in a country increasingly divided between its rural and urban sectors.

Filmed in five different regions of China, UMBRELLA provides a telling look at the vast changes that have taken place in Chinese society, including a massive migration from the countryside to the cities, the rise of a prosperous new class of businesspeople, millions of new college graduates competing for a shrinking number of jobs, and the neglect of China’s largest population group, its rural peasants.

 

The Story of Stuff (2000)

20m; U.S

Director: Louis Fox

Synopsis (IMDB): For most of the world, consumption has been the unquestioned duty of every individual. Then garbage activist Annie Leonard brought her two-hour lecture to Free Range who helped her turn it into a 20-minute animated revolution. Shown in thousands of classrooms, endlessly blasted by Fox News, viewed more than 10 million times, The Store of Stuff finally opens the door to a serious cultural dialog about the costs of consumption.

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2012 in Animation, Consumerism