The Entertainment Shack

Wisconsin Film Festival 2007: Thursday

Posted by Erik W on Apr 13, 2007 1:41 AM

Manufactured Landscapes The District

Manufactured Landscapes

The very first film I saw was "Manufactured Landscapes". It was quite an eye-opening documentary. Mostly featuring Chinese industry, this film showed how horrible manual repetitive labor can be. It started out with a tracking shot down an entire building of a Chinese Factory, showing aisle after aisle after aisle of teenage-looking men and women assembling, by hand, items such as irons and fans. It took about 10 minutes walking speed to get down the entire building. It was quite stunning. Above left shows each aisle's labor being briefed by their supervisor before going to work. Many were getting yelled at for not producing enough units, or having too many defective units.

The documentary continues on to show even worse conditions, including one village where young and old women were de-soldering old circuit boards for parts, that were sent to be "recycled". They aren't wearing any masks or protective gloves while working with the highly toxic metals and gasses. They continue to show monitors being disassembled as well, even more dangerous. Because the rain washes all of these toxins into their water, it is no longer safe to drink, and they resort to have drinking water shipped in.

Finally, they touched on the huge hydro-electric damn China is building. It's going to be the largest in the world. However, this damn caused the relocation of 1.5 million people, who not only had to see their homes destroyed, but got paid to per brick to take down their own homes.

The documentary itself isn't very well made, but the content is something everyone should see. If it's available for rent near you, I'd recommend checking it out.

The District! (NyĆ³cker!)

This raunchy Hungarian animated film (top right) was quite entertaining. I always love watching movies from other countries, because it allows you to see cultural differences in a very interesting way. First off, without an MPAA-like organization, apparently anything can be in a mainstream Hungarian film.

The premise of the film was a father talking to his son, explaining that he won't get a woman without money. So this high-school aged kid gathers his friends, and they come up with a brilliant plan-- create a time machine, go back in time, bury a bunch of mammoths underneath their city, and reap the benefits of the future oil. A sub-plot featured a Romeo and Juliet-type story between a while girl and a Roma (although the movie used the derogatory term) guy.

The movie wasn't without political criticism, which was interesting to see. I hope not everybody hates America. As these kids are getting rich off the oil they created, George Bush declares on television that the city ("The District") in Hungry is filled with terrorists and must be bombed. *cough* The Oil *cough* (Ironically enough, Osama is living underground this city, unknown to anyone). However, luck was on The District's side, as George Bush didn't know where it was, let alone the country Hungary.

There was also some, what seemed like negative, commentary about the European Union. The movie was made the year Hungary became a member state of the European Union (2004). I must admit, with the subtitles and cultural slang and references, the movie was hard to follow at times.

Jabs were also made at Tony Blair, the Pope, Vladimir Putin, and Colin Powell, and Britney Spears.

Overall it was an enjoyable flick.

listed in: madison, movies, wisconsin film festival

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