A Decent Factory | Chicago Reader

A Decent Factory

Once this 2004 exposé of labor practices in a Shangshen-based Nokia cell-phone plant gets rolling, it offers insight into communist China's rapid transition into a booming, modified capitalist economy. The cadre spirit still rules, but now the collective comprises waves of young people (mostly women) who arrive from failing rural areas to live in cramped dormitory blocks and work for less than half the minimum wage. What starts as a rather dull film covering Nokia's nascent ethics policy turns into sly commentary as an idealistic team from the Finnish home office faces down Chinese supervisors and their British bosses, who blithely ignore environmental hazards and cook the books to hide their noncompliance with labor laws. Directed by French documentarian Thomas Balmes. In English and subtitled Finnish and Cantonese. 79 min.

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