If you live as this reviewer does, as a modern young person in a modern metropolis with easy access to modern accoutrements, then you also most likely make extensive use of clothing and other articles produced in sweatshops. Not that I never understood this, but sometimes a film like China Blue can burst through the typical abstract depiction of this problem in order to confront its human dimension. It’s a shocking experience. China Blue goes deeper than 2004’s sweatshop exposé A Decent Factory by viewing conditions from the workers’ points of view. The film’s two protagonists, 17-year-old Jasmine and 20-year-old Orchid, are representative of a majority of the labor force — young female migrants from rural areas in search of better pay to send home to their families. Better pay, however, means six cents an hour before food costs, lack of overtime compensation, and virtually no rest days. The results, as clandestinely shot and smuggled out of China, are, sadly, plain to see.Take it upon yourself to make sure director Peled’s courageous effort is not in vain and subject to less viewership in America than the Super Bowl will generate in a single enclave of Brooklyn.
Opens January 26 at Anthology Film Archives