With TV images of abuses in the Asian textile industry searing through her mind, artist and filmmaker Chloe Ruthven expressed criticism of her sister Orlanda, who works in India. Orlanda told her to come and see for herself. In India, Ruthven filmed Orlanda at work, asking her questions while doing so. Orlanda has lived in India for 15 years and works for an organization that recruits girls from rural areas to work in one of the big textile factories in Bangalore. The girls are first given some vocational skills, then they say farewell to their families and make the journey. Once in the city, they are put up in hostels where there are strict rules about going out and receiving visitors. They work hard for meager pay. As Chloe becomes more involved with the various aspects of the story – and with the two girls Bhuntu and Banu in particular – she recognizes the dilemmas her sister faces and realizes that it’s all more complicated than she thought. Although Orlanda works for the big factories, which are in urgent need of cheap labor, she does her best to empower the girls, make them stronger and improve their living conditions. In the meantime, Banu and Bhuntu are considering returning home, even though this means they will soon face arranged marriages.
Chloe Ruthven for Roast Beef Productions
Mike Lerner for Roast Beef Productions, Martin Herring for Roast Beef Productions