Film Shorts: "Unravel" and "Occupation: Mill Worker"

Unravel follows the Western world’s least-wanted clothes on a journey across northern India, from sea to industrial interior. They get sent to the sleepy town Panipat—the only place in the world that wants them—to be recycled back into yarn. Reshma is a bright, inquisitive woman working in a textile-recycling factory and dreaming of traveling vast distances like the clothes she handles. While Reshma shows us how these garments are deconstructed, she and other women workers dream up a vision of the West using their imagination and the rumors that travel with the cast-off clothing. (Soul Rebel Films, 2012, 14 minutes.)

Occupation: Mill Worker documents the events of February, 1992, when workers forcibly occupied the factories of Mumbai’s New Great Eastern Mill after a four-year lock-out. Increased foreign investment and rising real-estate prices made it more profitable to sell mills than to run mills. Led by the Closed Mills Action Committee, the film reveals the determination of the workers to reopen their mill. The anxiety experienced during the occupation is transmitted through songs, interviews, an evening screening of Patwardhan’s Bombay Our City, and a tense confrontation with the police. Occupation: Mill Worker ends in a fleeting moment of triumph as workers gather outside the factory gates to celebrate a court order to reopen the Great Eastern Mill. (First Run/Icarus Films, 1997, 20 minutes.)

This program relates to the exhibition Fast Fashion/Slow Art presented at the Corcoran School of the Arts & Design. It is part of the museum's weekly Textiles at Twelve series, which explores textile arts and global cultures through films, lectures, gallery talks, and more. Free; no reservations required.