IDFA - Machines with Extended Q&A

A mesmerizing, rhythmic portrait of everyday life for workers at a textile factory in India. There is enchanting beauty here, but the film also reveals deplorable conditions.

To the south of the Indian metropolis of Surat in Gujarat province lies a vast industrial zone that has been growing ever since the 1960s. Director Rahul Jain filmed the grueling daily routine in just one of the many textile factories there. In the factory, man and machine seem to have fused into one being. It is dark and dank, and barely any daylight penetrates the space. The labor is heavy and mind-numbing, and the work days seem endless. We are drawn into a gloomy world where the cacophonous beat of machinery sets the rhythm of toil.

Jain is as interested in the mysterious connection between worker and product (the fabrics are treated mechanically, but also with love) as he is in the degrading conditions. Each shift lasts 12 hours, for adults and children alike, and wages are extremely low. Short interviews are interspersed throughout the observational sequences, some of which are captivating in their beauty while others are painful to watch – such as when we see a boy nodding violently in his struggle to stay awake.

Director/editor Rahul Jain and editor Yael Bitton discuss the editing of the visually stunning film Machines with film critic Nicolas Rapold.

(idfa)