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China Blue

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It's easy to pay lip service to the ills of globalization, but Micah X. Peled's documentary quietly and effectively places us directly in it. His cameras track just a few of the underpaid, overworked employees of a Chinese jeans factory, where tiny profit margins trump labor laws and basic human dignity. It's pure capitalism, augmented ironically by the workers' socialist training (rigid order, unquestioning obedience, allegiance to a group). Peled's access to the factory floor and its adjacent workers' dorm is remarkable: The boss offers his side, eager to show off his successful operation, and 16-year-old thread-cutter Jasmine, fresh from the provinces, is our guide into China's "new opportunity." Her journey is eye-opening, infuriating -- and heartbreaking: These unsophisticated teen-age workers can't hide their disappointment, loneliness and shame. China Blue asks us to look hard, without the intercession of cheery marketing and attractive prices: These are the exploited children behind the clothes we buy, wear and discard so cavalierly. In English, and Cantonese and Mandarin, with subtitles. Fri., April 20, through Sun., April 22. Melwood

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