7:30 PM, 24th September, 2018
Presented in partnership with ANU Learning Communities – Sustainability
Plastic China quietly explores the human impact of the global plastics and recycling trade and exposes its dirty, dusty, smoke-ridden underbelly. The documentary follows two families living in China’s Shandong province, who work in the rudimentary plastic workshops that are the final destination for some ten million tonnes of plastic waste annually imported from foreign, highly industrialised countries.
To make this film, director Wang Jiuliang rented a home near the village of his subjects and, over 18 months, informally filmed and chatted to them among the mountains of plastic they sort for processing and on-selling back to the West. Among many poignant moments, we learn that one of the families was forced to migrate to Shandong from western China for work. They cannot afford to send their nine-year-old daughter to school, who instead works and plays among the plastic mountains, learning about the outside world in snippets through the bits of rubbish that end up in her ‘backyard’.
Overall, Plastic China paints a hard-hitting vignette of the many difficulties suffered by people eking out their existences at the bottom of China’s supposedly glittering ascent into capitalism, and will make you question your role in contributing to the world’s undeniable garbage problem.