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      Mardi Gras: Made in China

      2005 1 hr. 18 min. Documentary List
      68% 19 Reviews Tomatometer 90% 250+ Ratings Audience Score The life cycle of plastic beads is traced from their manufacture at a Fuzhou, China, manufacturing facility to their extensive use by revelers at the annual Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans, La. Documentary filmmaker David Redmon investigates the low wages and substandard conditions endured by the factory's workers, many of whom are young women. Candid interviews with both the Chinese workers and the Mardi Gras crowd reveal the vast economic and cultural chasm between the two. Read More Read Less

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      Audience Reviews

      View All (16) audience reviews
      Audience Member Obscenity comes to Mardi Gras for 10 cents an hour. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/05/23 Full Review Audience Member I viewed this film over five years ago and it's still lodged in my memory every time I go and purchase any product. If a film can have that sort of impact on me, it deserves 5 stars automatically. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 01/20/23 Full Review Audience Member You'll see new parts of China, but not much insight. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/16/23 Full Review Audience Member Very comprehensive look at the gaudy plastic ornamentation that has come to symbolize Mardi Gras and is the currency of choice for mammarian displays of pre-Lent revellers. The director walks a fine line between information gathering and casting a critical eye. The film could as easily be a celebration of the success of global manufacturing as an expose of human rights abuses by the penny-pinching benefactors of cheap Chinese labor. There is some great industrial machinery footage of beads being churned out(check out Manufactured Landscapes for even more awe-inspiring industrial scenes). The working conditions and mind numbing repetition are horrendous. The capricious rules and punishments of the Chinese factory owner make high-school principals look like anarchistic free-spirits. Just because there is no ready solution to the inequities of globalization, doesn't mean Mardi Gras goers shouldn't have a better understanding of beads even amidst their oblivious drunken stupors. Bead Companies, come on man. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/31/23 Full Review Audience Member Essentially an expose of working conditions in a small Chinese factory, as well as the mindset of its manager. Fifteen year-old girls toil 12-to-14-hour shifts, six days a week, 51 weeks a year, for $62 a month in a dormitory/factory under a variety of oppressive rules (enforced by docking weeks of pay) to manufacture the beads tossed out at Mardi Gras - then eventually into the trash. The amount of access the filmmakers obtained is impressive; even more impressive is the frankness, even pride, seen in the manager when explaining his Tayloristic and capitalistic management philosophies. While the conditions portrayed are cruel indeed, the film still does not totally succeed in capturing the viewer's sympathy. The worker most closely studied admits she walked out on her own education and family support toward a medical degree - to instead go to work in this factory. The manager's living conditions are vastly superior to that of his workers, but highlighting that he owns a Pontiac Firebird and that his child has a lot of toys does not exactly paint him the robber-baron. The film's most striking moments are when it exhibits the workers' constant reveling in the small joys of life amidst such squalor. When confronted with pictures and stories regarding how the beads are used, the factory fills with smiles, snickers and laughter, rather than the indignation the viewer might expect. Nevertheless, when I trekked to WallyWorld at 4am this morning and passed by a display of colorful bundles of Mardi Gras beads, priced at $1.50 each, I stopped and stared and thought a few moments of these workers, sadly trapped in their endless cycle of misery and optimism - thought of them in just the way these filmmakers intended. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 01/14/23 Full Review Audience Member Wow. Very powerful doc. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 02/11/23 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

      Critics Reviews

      View All (19) Critics Reviews
      Michael Ordoña Los Angeles Times Mardi Gras: Made in China is a thought-provoking, canny piece of filmmaking that puts flesh, blood and garish multicolored baubles on the skeleton of globalization. Rated: 4/5 Aug 10, 2006 Full Review Ella Taylor L.A. Weekly This smart, witty look at the human cost of free-market reforms and globalization tracks the necklaces from hard labor at one end to hedonism at the other. Aug 10, 2006 Full Review Janice Page Boston Globe At minimum, this two-dimensional documentary does a decent job of displaying cavalier consumption alongside globalization and exploitative manufacturing. Rated: 2/4 Apr 28, 2006 Full Review Kam Williams NewsBlaze Director David Redmon earns accolades galore for crafting a dmning expose' which brilliantly contrasts the plight of exploited Asian females with the embarrassing behavior of drunks and bimbos floating up Bourbon Street on Fat Tuesday. Rated: 4/4 Jul 25, 2008 Full Review Prairie Miller NewsBlaze This investigative literal and figurative global chain reaction appears to be yet another exceptionally worthy addition to the evolving genre of what may be termed anti-globalization cinema. Jul 12, 2008 Full Review Frank Lovece Film Journal International Goes halfway around the globe without halfway giving us perspective. Feb 6, 2007 Full Review Read all reviews

      Movie Info

      Synopsis The life cycle of plastic beads is traced from their manufacture at a Fuzhou, China, manufacturing facility to their extensive use by revelers at the annual Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans, La. Documentary filmmaker David Redmon investigates the low wages and substandard conditions endured by the factory's workers, many of whom are young women. Candid interviews with both the Chinese workers and the Mardi Gras crowd reveal the vast economic and cultural chasm between the two.
      Director
      David Redmon
      Genre
      Documentary
      Original Language
      English
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Nov 18, 2016
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