Personal&POV Social&Human Interest
Different from films portraying China as the ‘world's factory’, our film attempts to reveal a new era where China plays the role of ‘world buyer.’ After being mined in Greece, a piece of marble stone is shipped to China and made into Western style products. Most of them will be sold in China, or shipped back to Europe to be sold to Chinese tourists. The journey of the stone will connect various individual stories in our film. We capture the meaningful details of locations and individuals representing diverse social classes and cultural backgrounds, such as the proud Chinese boss who bought the Greek marble mines during the financial crisis, the French businessman whose success in China is based on copying European style, kids who grow up in a souvenir factory but never go abroad, middle-class couples who dream of weddings in Europe, and so forth. Through their stories, we investigate the multi-layered global economic chain driven by Chinese domestic consumption, and reflect on how and why Western cultures are being admired, copied, acquired and consumed by China during the past few decades. As the Chinese economy slows down and US-China tensions intensify, the film captures the breakdown of this ‘food chain’, contrasting the fate of individuals in the massive economic phenomenon of ‘Chinaisation.’
When making my debut documentary feature Lady of the Harbour in Greece, I met Chinese businessmen who owned Greek marble mines. I soon discovered the surprising global commercial trade behind marble stone. Marble stone is a symbol for Western civilization and its modern Odyssey between China and Europe contains themes that interest me, such as immigration, imitating Western cultures, and China in transition. I encounter people who ‘wander’ like the stone between the East and West, with whom I share a complex feeling of embarrassment and helplessness. The narrative has 3 layers - through focusing on the details of industrialization i.e. how the stone is mined, shipped, processed, we visualize the relationship between capital, producer and material. We also analyze the complexity of diverse social and economic layers through their unique characteristics, and focus on the lives of individuals from different social/cultural background along the chain, to explore how human lives are connected to massive global capitalism.