Dir. Jia Zhangke. 2007, 80 mins. Digital projection. With Ma Ke. The second installment of Jia’s “trilogy of artists,” this high-definition documentary examines the place of the garment industry in a rapidly modernizing China. Jia offers no easy answers for the mixed blessing of globalization, dwelling on the work of factory laborers, fashion designers, and rural tailors with extraordinary grace and humanity. Useless is a snapshot of China at a crossroads, struggling to reconcile its history with its industrial future.
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