After making the World Premiere at Sundance Film Festival 2017 and bagging the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for excellence in Cinematography, Rahul Jain’s internationally acclaimed directorial debut documentary feature, Machines to make its India Premiere in the competition category, India Gold in Mumbai Film Festival (MAMI), 2017.
The film will also be screened at Dharamshala International Film Festival, 2017.
The documentary is a sensorial and kaleidoscopic meditation on the meaning of labor in an Indian textile sweatshop.
The film was selected as one of the Work-in-Progress Lab projects at NFDC’s Film Bazaar 2015 from where it got picked by international buyers and started its film festival journey.
Since then, the internationally acclaimed docu-feature has been screened and won awards in over 50 prestigious film festivals including Sundance Film Festival, INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM COMPETITION – IDFA 2016, HOT DOCS, CPH DOX THESSALONIKI, OPENING FILM – MUSEUM OF MODERN ART’S DOC FORTNIGHT, OPENING FILM – FRAMES OF REPRESENTATION – ICA – LONDON, VIENNALE – INTERNATIONAL FEATURE DOCUMENTARIES, DOKLEIPZIG – INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION.
The film produced by Rahul Jain (Jann Pictures) and co-produced by Iikka Vehkalahti (IV FILMS LTD), Thanassis Karathanos (Pallas Film) has released theatrically in across the world including UNITED STATES, UNITED KINGDOM, GERMANY, SWEDEN, SWITZERLAND, FINLAND and IRELAND.
The director-producer Rahul Jain says, “After releasing premiering throughout the venues of world cinema, It is my deepest happiness to bring Machines in the place where it was made. I am really looking forward to the film’s reception in India. And what better a place for that than MAMI itself”
Our technological times enable us to reduce working hours like never before in human civilization. But the reduction of effort by technology is a first world reality, where relatively comparable technology with lesser material infrastructure could do the same for a much higher mass of the population.
Since the 1960s, the area of Sachin, India has undergone unprecedented
Industrialization; exemplified in its numerous textile factories. Machines portrays only
One of these in Sachin and represents at the same time thousands of laborers working and living in an environment they can´t escape from without unity.
‘Machines’ attempts to examine the experiential reality of factory culture and labor processes through temporal observation. Rather than documenting chronology or history, it creates a portrait of the breathing rhythms of the humans who inhabit the labyrinths of the textile factory with its machines.
Film Festival journey and Awards
• Sundance film festival – United States
World cinema award of excellence in cinematography
• Institute of Contemporary Art – New York City
Frames of Representation – Opening Film
• CPH DoX Denmark
• Thessaloniki Film Festival, Greece –
Greek Hellenic Parliamentary Award
Human Rights Award
• International documentary festival of Amsterdam – Netherlands –
• Documenta Madrid – Spain –
• Docs Barcelona – Spain –
• MakeDox – Macedonia –
Best Moral Approach Award
• Olhar De Cinema – Brazil –
• Griersons Awards – United Kingdom –
Nominated for Best Cinema Documentary (TBD)
• Asia Pacific Screen Awards – Australia –
Best Documentary Nomination (TBD)
• Mumbai Film Festival – India
Nominated for Best Indian Film (TBD)
• Yamagata Film Festival – Japan
Nominated for Best Film (TBD)
• South Asian festival of films – Nepal
Nominated for Best Film (TBD)
India has domestic migration issues. Out of its 30 states and 7 union’s territories, there is a precisely planned historical inequality in the Indian government’s push for the development of industrial Infrastructure. This has led to cases of extreme poverty and wealth being generated in Particular states, leading to mass migrations for employment. A surplus of labor to these booming economic areas allows factory owners to pay inhuman and unpractical wages for calculated and demanding labor.
Exploitation is timeless. In countries that lack applied laws for non-skilled labor, the globalized free market is a playground to the bourgeoisie for the creation of unequal wealth; when third world labor is sold in first world markets, a lot of profit can be made. The illusion of choice is a plastic concept in these places, where even without legalized bonded slavery, human beings have to helplessly accept absolute subjugating and exploitative employment terms out of lack of any sustainable options. “Majboori” or helplessness is the word most often repeated by these laborers on justifying their reasons for accepting such dehumanizing terms.
It is economic analysis and not morality that decides the cost of labor. In a globalized world that is dominantly reliant on the language of capital, the laws of supply and demand extend their influence from inanimate products to human life.
History is evidence to the arduous struggle of workers seeking dignified working conditions. The countries that enjoy and practice basic protection of human rights today are a century ahead of their counterparts to have collectively struggled for the acceptance and implementation of systems that protect the weak and vulnerable.
When governments turn a blind eye towards the business activity in their industries, a few individuals acquire unchecked powers over a much higher mass of people. A process of further conditions creates the environment for extreme inequality and a lack of united labor. The film is a testimony to this cycle.
As a young boy of five, I used to roam around in my grandfathers now defunct textile-dyeing factory in Sachin, Gujarat, India. A child’s perspective is very much motivated by height, but as an adult, the depth perception takes over. It was easy to get lost in the labyrinthine corridors. The machines overwhelmed me as 3 feet tall kindergartener. It was this sensation of being minuscule in front of the gigantic processing machines that took me back to a similar factory like that now, 20 years later. I remember the feeling of being lost in the long aisles of printing machines, enjoying the smell of the coal in the factory’s boiler rooms.
Seeing the world on an eye-to-eye level basis helped me sort my inclinations well. We forget this impulse in our everyday existential structures because these things are hidden from our immediate field of vision, and I wish to elucidate through the camera this simple eye-to-eye perspective we sometimes choose to not acknowledge. Venturing into many factories I have gotten a sense of my class, my identity among the 1.3 billion Indians I share my nationality with.
Food, housing, and fabric are the material necessities of existence. A factory function within these interests of a variety of human elements. There is one boss relative to thousands of workers. A lack of unionized labor in a densely populated, quickly accelerating economy leaves room for a lot to be left unseen, deliberate overlooking of a multitude of human beings for the interests of a few. It is not just one factory; it’s a civilizational structure. The systems that allow this to happen are the ones that need collective acknowledgment.
Observing this endless Labour in these factories has a “watching paint dry” quality to them. As troubling and painful the images may be to look at, their aestheticized form encourages the viewer to not look away from what we usually don’t wish to acknowledge.