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Machines

  • ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews
  • India, Germany, Finland • 2017
  • 1h11
  • Director Rahul Jain
  • Starring
  • Genre Documentary
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This portrayal of the rhythm of life and work in a gigantic textile factory in Gujarat, India, moves through the corridors and bowels of the enormously disorienting structure—taking the viewer on a journey of dehumanizing physical labor and intense hardship.
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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

60

The New York Times by Ben Kenigsberg

The ideological charge leveled for decades at this strain of filmmaking is that such eye-catching tableaus romanticize poverty, but prettified squalor has become sadly familiar in global documentary filmmaking. In Machines, even at barely more than an hour, the style leads to diminishing returns.
75

IndieWire by David Ehrlich

A spare and unflinching documentary about the true cost of cheap textiles, Machines doesn’t tell us anything we don’t already know about the inhumane work conditions in countries like India, but it forces us to become palpably familiar with the awful facts of the matter.
50

RogerEbert.com by Godfrey Cheshire

A film so obedient to current academic fashions in both politics and cinema aesthetics that it ends up feeling both contrived and a bit dishonest.
90

Variety by Guy Lodge

This simultaneously beautiful and abjectly unhappy film is forced to close by silently admitting its limitations.
80

The Hollywood Reporter by Neil Young

Showing levels of controlled concentration and unfussy flair far beyond what may be expected from a "student film," Machines powerfully evokes the sights and sounds — and almost even the smells — of a sprawling, stygian textiles plant south of India's eighth-largest (but very seldom filmed) city, Surat.
80

Time Out London by Trevor Johnston

Some accuse the filmmaker of being just like the politicians who turn up, look around and do nothing. It adds a confrontational edge to the film’s already startling combination of immersive aesthetics and humane empathy.