29 April, 2011

Responsible and Serious

A National Film Board documentary from 1980, North China Factory, shows a cotton factory and its "comrades of spinners and weavers."

I wonder if workers nowadays who run spinning machines in Chinese factories still have to read Mao as part of their jobs.  I've seen similar machines in operation a couple of times in North America and it strikes me that as much as textile tools and fibre can be the same, outlook, philosophy, and organization can be very different.

One manager called the factory's workers "responsible and serious" as a great compliment.  But in the documentary lighter qualities crept in too, as with the wedding celebration for two factory workers and the training for a buoyant novice learning to tie her knots.

You can stream it online here if you're interested:  http://www.nfb.ca/film/north_china_factory/  The documentary is rather long and doesn't spend all that much time on the factory floor showing textile equipment, just to let you know.

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