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Mardi Gras: Made in China screening 2/17

February 14, 2011

We are a couple of weeks away from Mardi Gras, also known as Fat Tuesday. If you are in New Orleans or right here in West Michigan you are likely to see people wearing bead necklaces.

Like many things we do in our consumer culture, most of us probably don’t know where these beaded necklaces come from and who makes them. This is one of the questions that the directors of Mardi Gras: Made in China are asking. The film does what many documentaries on globalization fail to do…..they get us to think about where the products we consume come from.

Mardi Gras: Made in China presents their case, not in a moralizing way, but in a creative and humanizing fashion. Viewers are first taken to a traditional Mardi Gras scene on the streets of New Orleans. The camera crew films people celebrating and then asks them if they know where the beads they are wearing come from. Everyone says that they don’t and then the film cuts to China, where we meet the young women who work long hours for little pay to thread the necklaces many of us wear.

In addition, the filmmakers show the young Chinese women how the product they are making is used in places like New Orleans. Their reaction is one of astonishment, since these workers had no idea what the Mardi Gras beads were used for.

This is what makes Mardi Gras: Made in China such a powerful film, in that they not only expose the exploitative realities of the globalized economy, they frame it in the context of cultural differences.

The film will be screened this Thursday, February 17, 7pm at the IATSE Labor Hall located at 931 Bridge St. NW in Grand Rapids. The film is hosted by the Grand Rapids branch of the IWW and is free and open to the public. A discussion will follow the film.

Watch the trailer:


2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 14, 2011 8:17 pm

    I remember seeing this movie screened at the Wealthy Theatre several years ago. An extremely moving documentary–highly, highly recommended.


  1. Mardi Gras: Made in China screening 2/17 (via Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy) « The Wobbly Goblin

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