Useless (2007)

Genres - Culture & Society  |   Sub-Genres - Beauty & Fashion, Biography, Social Issues  |   Run Time - 80 min.  |   Countries - China , United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Jason Buchanan

Having previously explored the art of Liu Xiao-dong in his 2006 documentary Dong, filmmaker Jia Zhang Ke turns his lens on the Chinese fashion industry in order to explore the toll that time and money have taken on creativity to offer a compassionate look at the world's largest exporter of garments. In sprawling factories illuminated by neon, the laborers of the fashion industry compete with machines to turn out precision work in a timely manner. These people, as well as the struggling artisans who know that the laws of the new economy will likely force them to find work on the streets or in the coalmines, are the people who constant stand on the edge of a great abyss. In contrast to these tireless workers, Ke also visits with Ma Ke - the design director of innovative Chinese clothing brand Exception who has just debuted her latest brand Wu Yong (which translates into English as "useless") at Paris Fashion Week. Ke is a designer who draws on Taoist philosophy in order to create her groundbreaking creations, and describes Wu Yong is less prêt-à-porter, and more conceptual work of art.