Review of Machines (2016)

Moving picture, 71 minutes

Seen in 2017.

A textile factory in contemporary Gujarat, India.

Mostly in the style of Our Daily Bread (2005) but with workers and one manager describing their thoughts. Machines is less brutal: Whereas Our Daily Bread shows a knocker piercing the forehead of a cow, Machines shows none of the industrial accidents or diseases of the workplace: they hover out of sight.

I am struck by the extreme similarity between this situation and the very first mechanized textile factories in the world, back in late-18th-century England. It’s as if director Rahul Jain made a sensually elaborate movie out of a tiny facet of Europe and the People Without History (1982), but whereas British automation obliterated Indian hand production, Machines describes one site where the global system has ejected automation to India because European living standards got too high for this horror.

moving picture non-fiction