With the mystery and potency of a dream, Rahul Jain's documentary focuses on conditions in the factories of Gujurat, many of which supply clothes to the west
Rahul Jain's brief, fierce documentary feature Machines is about the people who work in the textile factories of Gujurat, India. Its images often have the mystery and potency of a dream. Jain's work reminded me of the Austrian documentarian Nikolaus Geyrhalter; at other times, I found myself thinking of Chaplin twitching on the production line in Modern Times.
The title is well chosen. The bodies of the workers look naked and vulnerable, and yet they have become part of the machines, part of the process. The relentless rhythms of the wor k are captured. It looks soul-destroying – particularly in one grim shot of a boy almost falling asleep while doing some mind-crushingly repetitive task. Later, another is shown asleep on top of piles of cloth, which look almost like his shroud.