We all have a pair of jeans, some may have numerous jeans, but what goes into making those perfect pairs of jeans? Who are the people that makes those jeans and what are the circumstances behind making jeans? China Blue is a documentary that reveals what goes on behind the scenes of making the pants that the Western civilisation sometimes takes for granted. We follow the story of Jasmine, Orchid, and Lipin in their day-to-day adventures at the factory, which is often said to be one of the “better” factories. The harsh working environment, the unusual punishment by deducting hard-earned cash for the smallest trespasses and the ungrateful Western market that wants the clothing for next to nothing, bypassing all international labour laws for their own greed… these things are all on display in this documentary.
China Blue is not a documentary that makes you think kindly about the Asian clothing factories, though it does make you wonder how incredibly guilty you are when it comes to your purchases. Have you asked the store if they enforced international labour laws at the factory? Have you wondered if the person that made your item has actually slept more than 2 hours? Have you asked yourself what the factory worker makes on a pair of jeans whatsoever? I doubt you have and this is what China Blue is trying to bring to light. We take things for granted, we don’t ask questions, we don’t think ourselves as being fortunate, no… all we do is buy, buy, buy. Consumerism and communism goes hand-in-hand and nobody even thought to make the connection or worry about it for that matter.
China Blue shows the confrontations that the workers have with the owner of the company, the owner has with the client and the sad living conditions and horrendous wages these people make. Furthermore, we are able to see how these women struggle to survive the working conditions, as they realise they can be replaced at any time. It’s a cruel and unusual world we live in and the saddest part is we exploit people anyway…
Directed by Micha X. Peled (Store Wars – When Wal-Mart Comes to Town), we are able to see the world through the eyes of teenagers who still hope and dream of a better future, regardless of their inevitable fate. It’s miserable and daunting and frankly, incredibly depressing and the reason people won’t watch this documentary is because they wouldn’t want to feel guilty about the clothes they buy and wear. I mean, nobody wants to feel guilty when they take out $100 for a pair of perfect jeans, do they? No woman wants to ask the sales assistant whether or not slave labour was the result of that pair of jeans that sits just right in all the right places. However, I feel it’s every consumer’s responsibility to watch China Blue, due to those very reasons! Think twice about “dumping” (that’s what they call clothing that costs next to nothing to make) and three times about buying those pair of Levi jeans, because if you don’t retailers won’t listen and it won’t get any better for these kids slaving away making the clothes you love.
South African audiences can watch China Blue at the Tri-Continental Film Festival that’s being held from 7-23 September in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria and Soweto at Ster-Kinekor Cinema Nouveau. For more information you can visit The Film Guide and Schedule of the TCFF, which is live on www.tcff.org.za or you can find ticket information at www.cinemanouveau.co.za or www.thebioscope.co.za