RSS

Category Archives: Manufacturing

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

 

They Don’t Wear Black Tie (1981) Eles Não Usam Black-Tie

2h | Drama | 18 April 1982 (USA)

Brazilian drama film directed by Leon Hirszman, based on Gianfrancesco Guarnieri’s play of the same name. Union leader’s son doesn’t want to engage in a strike, because his wife is pregnant, thus disregarding his father’s tradition of political activism. The film revolves around a working-class family in São Paulo in 1980. Otávio, a syndicalist leader, and Romana are the parents of Tião, whose girlfriend, Maria, becomes pregnant. Fearing to be fired and thus unable to support his now fiancée, Tião does not participate on a strike, which starts a series of family conflicts.

Full film here

 

Complicit

Complicit is about migrant workers in China. Journey of Chinese factory migrant worker-turned-activist Yi Yeting, who takes his fight against the global electronic industry from his hospital bed to the international stage. While battling his own work-induced leukemia, Yi Yeting teaches himself labour law and joins the struggle to defend the lives of teenage workers poisoned by toxic working conditions in the making of smartphones.

But defending the lives of millions of Chinese workers from becoming terminally ill due to working conditions necessitates confrontation with some of the world’s largest brands including Apple and Samsung….

Heather White, Producer/Co-Director
heatherhsw@gmail.com

“A Harrowing, Powerful Look at the Real Price of Our Devices”

REVIEWS:
POV: “As one gazes into the screen and taps one’s thumbs on the keyboard icons, one grasps one’s involvement and complicity in a major human rights issue. Even reviewing the film, staring at a screen on a laptop, feels uncomfortably inappropriate and ironic after viewing this compelling documentary.”
http://povmagazine.com/articles/view/review-complicit

The Reel Word: “Complicit is a harrowing and powerful documentary that may be set in fast developing China, but it raises an ethical question that we should all consider: From the smartphones we swipe to the Fitbits we wear, what really happens along the supply chain? Directors Heather White and Lynn Zhang make audiences face the uncomfortable truth that there is a devastating human cost to the conveniences we enjoy on a daily basis.”

THE REEL SCORE: 10/10
https://www.thereelword.net/complicit-documentary-review-china-2017/0/

Film Doo: “COMPLICIT is a shattering comment on inequality and the forces that work to maintain the unjust status-quo.”
https://www.filmdoo.com/blog/2017/03/08/review-complicit-2017/

Faze: “Complicit, A Shocking Film On Global Outsourcing Featured At Human Rights Watch Film Festival”
http://faze.ca/movie-review-complicit-global-outsourcing/

Toronto Globe and Mail: “In this year’s festival, the most complex film to assess was Complicit, a doc about Chinese activists struggling to help factory workers poisoned by the chemicals used to make cellphones and computers. In that instance, Human Rights Watch had to call on the expertise of three different departments: its China division; the health division; and the business division.”
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/film/human-rights-watch-film-festival-critically-curates-documentaries/article34400377/

The Platform: “Complicit…forces one to ponder how much a life is truly worth in our profit obsessed world.”
http://www.the-platform.org.uk/2017/03/25/film-nights-for-human-rights-complicit/

PressReader: “Complicit reveals the human costs of global outsourcing while highlighting the choices made by a group of inspired activists seeking change.”
https://www.pressreader.com/canada/the-globe-and-mail-metro-ontario-edition/20170324/282535838196685

In The Seats: “Complicit is pointed exploration into the various levels of corporate and governmental corruption impacting China’s manufacturing industry. Aiming to inspire consumers to stand up and demand better from corporations, Complicit is a film worth putting our electronics down for.

http://intheseats.ca/human-rights-watch-festival-2017-review-complicit/
The Georgia Straight: “Complicit reveals the inhumane ways in which hopeful, hardworking citizens are exposed to toxic chemicals on the job and the shady attempts by multi-billion-dollar corporations to shed all responsibility. The result is equal parts devastating, gut-wrenching, and infuriating—a necessary call for westerners to re-evaluate their relationship with capitalism and its astronomical cost.

 

Xmas without China (2013)

Directed By: Alicia Dwyerl
Runtime: 70 min
Stars: – – –

Synopsis: Exploring the intersection of commercialism and immigration in American culture, the documentary filmmakers follow their friend and fellow filmmaker Tom Xia on an intimate, humorous journey to get to know his neighbors

 

Ditching the Fear (2015)

Trailer: http://en.labournet.tv/video/6941/ditching-fear-trailer

Directed by: Rosa Cannone/Johanna Schellhagen

Running Time: 80 minutes.
Starring: N/A

Since 2008 in northern Italy, unusual things have been happening. Companies, the political class and the media are using the onset of the crisis to further undermine workers’ rights, which have been, up until now, crushed. On the other side, a lively and strong resistance has been forming at the bottom end of the wage scale.

Of all people, it is the precarious and largely migrant workers in the logistics sector who have, through solidarity and effective organizing, been successful in overcoming their isolation and degrading working conditions. A struggle that hasn’t just changed their working conditions but has changed their whole lives.

“I’d been talking with the girls since 2012 because I came to know about this union called SI Cobas. But there has been a lot of fear because they put you in a condition of servility, you are enslaved to the point that you can’t even say ‘a’. You don’t say anything, you work item after item after item… So I’d been speaking with the girls since 2012 and I don’t know how it happened. It was good luck.” (Yoox Worker, from the film)

 

 

 

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?

 

Machines (2016)

India, Germany, Finland (Director: Rahul Jain) — This intimate, observant portrayal of the rhythm of life and work in a gigantic textile factory in Gujarat, India, moves through the corridors and bowels of the enormously disorienting structure—taking the viewer on a journey of dehumanizing physical labor and intense hardship.

Daunting descent to the underworld of a textile factory in Gujarat, in North-western India, where the cheap clothes for the first world are made. This factory represents many more from Western India, where the scenary and the conditions are like the ones we see here. Claustrophobic, hermetic, unhealthy, dark spaces, with the air saturated of toxic smoke emanated from dye chemicals. Tied to looms, sleepy teenagers, youths and mature men work twelve hours a day for starvation wages: many of them go into debt in order to pay the train ticket to travel from rural areas to the urban factories. The brutal working conditions dehumanize the workers, to the point of turning them into appendixes of machines. Landless peasants join the files of workers without rights nor holydays. Few well selected interviews to workers convey what happens here: employers oppression without any constraint from the State, lack of trade-union reply due to the killing of their leaders, no viable alternative to survive out of the factory.

Relevance: With an excellent cinematography (it gained the Price of the best documentary photography in Sundance), the film transfers a feeling of anguish without loosing artistic dignity. We roam labyrinthic corridors and stagnant rooms, and we absorb the rhythm of production through the monotonous noises from the machines. This great debut of Rahul Jain give voice and faces to some of the more sorely afflicted slaves in the twenty-first century.
Note courtesy Docs and the World