Mardi Gras: Made in China
David Redmon, Matthew Dougherty, Ashley Sabin, Mike Chatfield, Drew Morrison, Alex Lampia
Mardi Gras: Made in China follows the "bead trail" from the factory in China to Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras, poignantly exposing the inequities of globalization. First-time director David Redmon cleverly illuminates the clash of cultures by juxtaposing American excess and consumer ignorance against the harsh life of the Chinese factory worker.
The film confronts both cultural and economic globalism by humanizing the commodity chain from China to the United States. Redmon follows the stories of four teenage women workers in the largest Mardi Gras bead factory in the world, providing insights into their economic realities, self-sacrifice, and dreams of a better life, and the severe discipline imposed by living and working in the factory compound.
Interweaving factory life with Mardi Gras festivities, the film open the blind eye of consumerism by visually introducing workers and festivalgoers to each other. A dialogue results when bead-wearing partiers are shown images of the teenage Chinese workers and asked if they know the origin of their beads, while the factory girls view pictures of Americans exchanging beads, soliciting more beads, and decadently celebrating. The conversation reveals the flaring truth about the real benefactors of the Chinese workers' hard labor and exposes the extreme contrast between women's lives and the liberty in both cultures. The next time you sport Mardi Gras beads, you may think twice before throwing them away!