Mardi Gras: Made in China

"This examination of cultural and economic globalization follows the life-cycle of Mardi Gras beads from a small factory in Fuzhou, China, to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and to art galleries in New York City." (text taken from imdb)
Year Released
Running Time
72 min
Average: 3.8 (4 votes)


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Mardi Gras: Made in China

Field of Interest/Specialty: Languages
Posted On: 11/29/2016

It has already been quite a few years since I was first introduced to this documentary about the appalling waste of Mardi Gras. As a French teacher, I found it imperative to view the story and journey of this American grab gift of debauchery and excess. One of my former students told me, "After you see this documentary, you will no longer want to give the beads as a gift or trinket of accomplishment." She was partly right.
Made in China is so misunderstood in the US. Another truth of what politics want you to believe. This is a must see for anyone interested in this on going debate.
Minimum wages for the workers would raise the cost of the "worthless beads". It is interesting when we think about it. This documentary is thought-provoking and conscience-questioning. Reality is addressed.
While this movie contains nudity and vulgarity, it would be suitable for classroom view if the instructor were able to edit portions of what is shown. There is value in the content of this movie.

Stark Contrasts between Consumerism and Manufacturing

Field of Interest/Specialty: English Literature
Posted On: 02/21/2013

This film portrays the dichotomy between American consumerism and the manufacturing industries that support it. In doing this, the film juxtaposes clips of New Orleans during Mardi Gras with scenes and interviews with young women working in factories producing the beads that are so infamously associated with the celebrations. The film also includes conversations with factory owners in China and distributors in America. The interesting undertone is the lack of responsibility held by distributors and the denial of unfair conditions in factories by the owners. Continually, interesting conversation could evolve from the discussions with workers and workers' families and how those members of Chinese society view the factories. Unfortunately, these undertones are only suited to older students with prior practice analyzing themes. Also, due to some partial nudity and strong language, this film cannot be shown in its entirety to primary or secondary students. However, clips could be shown to spark conversation and raise awareness about the manufacturing conditions in China and other countries around the world who help to support American consumerism.


Field of Interest/Specialty: History
Posted On: 02/18/2013

If a teacher had the ability to edit the documentary, then this film would be suitable for the classroom. However, it is my understanding that there is a "classroom" version of this documentary. The documentary is very informative. It does a very good job of illustrating the conspicuous (and wasteful) consumption of capitalism using Madri Gras as a prime example. If one was a Marxist, or communist, this film could be one piece of evidence to show the "evils" of capitalism. Are the documentarian fair and balanced in their depiction of what goes into the making of these beads? That is debatable, however it does lend itself to a classroom discussion on the subject. I would recommend this film to be shown in the classroom. One can show it as the class is learning of the Progressive Era or the Gilded Age of American history.

Mardi Gras

Field of Interest/Specialty: Social Studies
Posted On: 04/26/2009

This documentary is not suitable for classroom use due to nudity and language. However, f you are a teacher capable of some creative editing, this would be worthwhile for your students to view. This film profiles the mardi gras bead making factory and the girls that are employed to make them. It profiles the living situations of some employees and how their employment alters their life in more ways than one. After viewing this documentary I was left with many questions and grappled with the cost of capitalism. This would be an excellent film for those interested in the dynamics of American business adventures in China.