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Like no other film before, China Blue is a powerful and poignant journey into the harsh world of sweatshop workers. Shot clandestinely, this is a deep-access account of what both China and the international retailers don't want us to see: how the clothes we buy are actually made.
Following a pair of denim jeans from birth to sale, China Blue links the power of the U.S. consumer market to the daily lives of a Chinese factory owner and two teenaged female factory workers. Filmed both in the factory and in the workers' faraway village, this documentary provides a rare, human glimpse at China's rapid transformation into a free market society.
'China Blue lends itself to sparking classroom discussion because the story it tells is both crystal-clear and complex. The camera team got amazing access, so we feel in touch with what is real. And as a result, there are no bad guys. Everyone is trying to survive and succeed. Where is it in the system -- that starts with a factory in China and ends with us as consumers -- that the problems we see are going to be fixed?' Andrew Nathan, Chair, Department of Political Science, Columbia University'China Blue puts a human face on the contentious issue of 'cheap Chinese labor.' It shows us the links between the rural and urban areas, the farms and factories in China. Although the work is grueling and bosses often unscrupulous, we do see that the young workers who migrate to the burgeoning industrial zones have unprecedented opportunities to meet people from elsewhere in China, learn about city life and global popular culture. The film makes an excellent tool for stimulating classroom discussion on a broad range of topics impacting not only China, but the rest of the world as well.' Thomas B. Gold, Chair, Department of Sociology, UC-Berkeley, Director, Berkeley China Initiative 'China Blue offers an illuminating window onto the normally hidden worlds of global production. It provides unparalleled access to the everyday lives of garment workers in China, giving them voice, and giving a face to the reality underlying China's emergence as the factory floor to the world. For those interested in globalization, economic development, or current controversies around sweatshops, China Blue is an excellent introduction to the experiences of workers from developing countries - even those supposedly 'winning' through globalization.' Dara O'Rourke, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Environmental and Labor Policy, University of California at Berkeley'For those who are interested in women's labor and its social and political implications within a broader framework of economic globalization, [the film] provide[s] a good grip on the topic.' Yasmin Cho, Films for the Feminist Classroom'Anyone who watches this movie...cannot help but gain some greater insight into what 'holism' and 'globalization' mean in the modern world. Not only are other aspects of Chinese society changing as it's economy changes...but the changes in China are being felt in the West and vice versa...Hopefully, American viewers of this film will think more critically about the jeans they wear, their own industrial history, the phenomenon of globalization, and the human cost of providing goods at ever-lower prices.' David Eller, Metropolitan State College of Denver, Anthropology Review Database'This eye-opening documentary will have particular value for students of sociology, Asian studies, and economics. Jasmine's plight can serve as an excellent springboard for discussions about women's and worker's rights and the economic responsibility of American consumers.' School Library Journal'China Blue is a revealing and quite moving inside look at China's emerging capitalist system that should make Western viewers think twice about the human cost of buying apparel with 'made in China' labels. Recommended.' Video Librarian'We may know that our jeans are made in sweatshops in China, but this poignant and well-documented film makes us see the whole picture...[China Blue] should be seen by all audiences. Highly Recommended.' Library Journal'Does an excellent job of illustrating the 'human face' of globalization, and specifically the often-concealed linkages between people at different ends of a commodity chain...Teachers interested in discussing how commodity chains work in practice will make their task much easier, and more relevant to students, by showing China Blue...Suitable for both the university and high school classroom. This is one of the rare films that attracts the general public as well as serves as an effective educational tool. It has been very valuable in my campaigning on human rights and consumer issues. I cannot recommend it highly enough.' Sue Kedgley, Member of Parliament (Green Party), New Zealand'China Blue presents a powerful testimony of the working conditions in China as well as moving and sensitive portraits of the young workers to whom we owe our 'Made in China' jeans.' Le Monde (France)'Like some of Micha X. Peled's previous films (Store Wars, Inside God's Bunker), China Blue is primarily a deep-access film.' The Vancouver Sun'Mr. Peled has achieved some amazing footage of life in the factory...If you were ever curious about the people who make your blue jeans, China Blue is the film for you.' The Royal Gazette (Bermuda)'At least one woman rushed home to rip up her blue jeans...The measure of a successful big screen documentary is not the facts that it shows us - but how much it make us want to engage with the facts.' AllmediaSCOTLAND.com'Cleverly constructed and ultimately heart-wrenching...Multi-layered film explores the personalities, aspirations and imaginations of the main characters with sensitivity and tact...Director Micha X. Peled calls into question the whole system of global free trade and points at the responsibility retailers and ourselves - the consumer - all share. In the words of Jasmine: 'Who are the fat, tall people who buy these jeans we make?'' The Lumiere Reader (New Zealand)'One of the hottest titles at IDFA this year...Go, see and feel guilty about being a rich European. You know you want to.' IDFA Documentary Film Festival (Amsterdam)'Shines a light on the inhumane working conditions...Will stay with you.' The Toronto Eye'Director Micha Peled, whose film Store Wars featured at the Festival in 2002, continues his information campaign against America's massive Wal-Ma t chain by taking a very close look at who is manufacturing their jeans.' Realto Cinemas (New Zealand)'Sixteen-year-old Jasmine is a thread-cutter at the Lifeng Factory, one of dozens of denim manufacturers in Shaxi, South China. As she puts it, she makes the 'big and fat' jeans we wear. Like her new friends at the factory - Liping, a seamstress, and Orchid, a zipper installer - Jasmine is one of hundreds of millions of people, mostly young women, who make up the largest pool of cheap labor in the world...Shot clandestinely, China Blue paints a nuanced, thorough and ultimately moving portrait of the daily lives of the anonymous young workers who make our clothes...[while also] illuminat[ing] the economic pressures applied by Western companies and their human consequences...Contrary to the notion that these girls offer a pliant, obedient work force, the film reveals glimpses of an emerging activism: a bold willingness, as Jasmine asserts, 'to pull the Tiger's whiskers.' Coming into a sense of self-worth, Jasmine sends a gentle message to the West in the pocket of a pair of jeans. Tempering the giddy, greedy imperatives of the market, China Blue offers remarkable access into the other new China.' Sean Farnel, Toronto International Film Festival'China Blue...presents a revealing look into the daily lives of teenage girls who work long (often unpaid) hours...How must does a pair of jeans really cost? It's clear that costs involved in producing one pair of jeans ought not be measured in mere currency.' The Asian Reporter'Film director Micha Peled hopes shopping will never be the same again for people who see his new film, China Blue.' Dominion Post (New Zealand)'Once you see China Blue you may never want to but another pair of Levi's or jeans again...What [the filmmakers] developed is a documentary that takes the viewer, by the hand, into the lives of exploited workers.' El Tecolote Newspaper'China Blue is instructive, fascinating and a sad commentary on the economic times. At age 14 or 16, teens in America are cruising the mall looking for jeans. At 14 or 16, teens in China are making them and dreaming about who will be wearing them on the other side of the world.' 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