China Blue

“A must-see film for anyone interested in global politics, economics, and the socio-cultural issues of contemporary China.” — Jessica Snow, Globe and Mail
Director: Micha X. Peled
Year: 2005
Country: USA
Running time: 88 mins
USA
Photography: Micha Peled
Editor: Manuel Tsinguris
Sound: Song Chen
Music: Miriam Cutler
In Cantonese, English, Mandarin and Sichuan, with English subtitles

Festivals: Toronto, Vancouver, Amsterdam Documentary 2005
Life in a Chinese garment factory is seen through the gallingly cheerful eyes of 14 yearold Jasmine, who from eight every morning until two the next, seven days a week, removes lint and snips the loose threads from the seams of denim jeans. Director Micha Peled, whose Store Wars featured at the Festival in 2002, continues his information campaign against America’s massive Wal-Mart chain by taking a very close look at who is manufacturing their jeans. His access to workers was disrupted several times by justifiably antsy Chinese authorities. They might have done better to silence factory bosses, whose contempt for an endlessly replaceable work force is barely concealed and whose idea of boosting "enthusiasm" is painting such slogans on the walls as this: "If you don’t work hard today, you’ll look hard for work tomorrow."

“It’s everything we already know about sweatshop labor but prefer not to think about… But the sweetness of Jasmine’s friendships, her basic human longings for family and a better life – not to mention her diary musings about attaining kung fu powers and turning abusive factory managers into stone – made the film surprisingly intimate. Toward the end of the film, Jasmine ponders why the people she’s making the jeans for are so fat, and she smuggles a letter to them into a pair of jeans. So check your pockets and check your heads.” — Jyllian Gunther and Kevin Greer, AlterNet

“Peled spent several months with his two girls, even filming the day that the factory workers threatened a strike (illegal in China) after no one had been paid a cent in months. Victory! Wal-Mart got its jeans! The workers got their salaries, about 12 cents an hour!” — Gerald Peary, Boston Phoenix