Back home people take weeks at a time off work to attend the Toronto International Film Festival. But here in Bermuda it’s mostly blue-hairs at the weekday matinees. To paint the picture a little better for you, a young lady sat behind me with her elderly mother, who spent about five minutes talking about why they should sit in the aisle seats, then another five minutes telling the daughter to get a drink at the concession stand so she could have some change for later, then another five minutes about how they should move a couple of seats over so they wouldn’t have to get up to let people through, and so on…
Thus, it seemed like a cruel joke that they were there with me for the screening of the deliberately-ambiguous Cannes-winning ‘Cache’. If nothing else, the film resurrects the almost lost art of post-movie dissection, as the forums on IMDb.com will attest. It certainly gave the audience something to talk about once the lights came up:
“That’s it? That’s the end?”
“Well, that was different…”
“What was that all about, anyway?”
“I guess you have to be French to understand it…”
Later that evening, regular hard-working folk sold out the 9pm screening of the documentary ‘China Blue’, yet another look at the plight of factory workers in China. A couple of things struck me about the facts presented in the film:
1. Sure these workers, mostly young women, are overworked and underpaid. Yet they still manage to save enough money to send to their families back in the villages, who might otherwise be starving. One has to acknowledge that on a very rudimentary level these otherwise dirt-poor farm-girls are at least participating in the global economy. And surely documentaries like ‘China Blue’ will some day put enough pressure on the system to finally improve working conditions at these places.
2. We privileged folks in the Western World have to accept that we’re ultimately responsible for the exploitation of these people… Or in other words, stop buying clothes at Wal-Mart!!!
In the end credits of ‘China Blue’, the filmmakers complain about the constant harassment they got from factory owners while filming. That struck me as odd, as the film provides the most in-depth view of a Chinese factory’s inner workings that I’ve yet seen. It’s definitely worth watching.
Film quote of the day:
“Who must we be making these jeans for? They’re so tall and fat!”
… An incredulous factory worker in ‘China Blue’.
“I deliberately sat here so I wouldn’t have to get up… I’m disabled!”
… Said to a fellow patron by the old woman behind me, sitting three seats from the aisle in an otherwise empty row.