Migrant Labour

(El Ejido – La Loi du Profit)

Jawad Rhalib
Belgium 2006 | 80 Min. | DigiBeta, OmeU
As far as the eye can see: A sea of white plas­tic stretch­es for kilo­me­ters up and down the Andalu­sian coast of the Mediter­ranean. Beneath the white-hot roofs of these … read more

FROM SOMEWHERE TO NOWHERE – Migrant Workers in China

Villi Hermann
Switzerland 2008 | 86 Min. | DigiBeta, OmeU

Some 150 mil­lion Chi­nese jour­ney through their coun­try as migrant work­ers. By and large, it is they who have car­ried China’s eco­nom­ic boom since the 1980s. They labor cease­less­ly at count­less con­struc­tion sites within the cities, and slog away for a pit­tance in fac­to­ries and mines infa­mous for ter­ri­ble work­ing con­di­tions – con­di­tions that fre­quent­ly lead to sick­ness. Their hope of shar­ing in the country’s eco­nom­ic suc­cess is often betrayed. Cur­rent­ly living in Tokyo, Swiss pho­tog­ra­ph­er Andreas Seib­ert has fol­lowed Chi­nese migrant work­ers since 2002. On three of Seibert’s recent trips to China – in 2006, 2007, and 2008 – the pho­tog­ra­ph­er was accom­pa­nied by film­mak­er and fellow coun­try­man Villi Herman. Togeth­er they tra­versed the coun­try, from the boom­ing south to the north, from east to west. They vis­it­ed the migrant work­ers at their places of work, wit­nessed their makeshift shel­ters, and trav­eled with them back to their vil­lages, to the fam­i­lies they must leave behind. Using pow­er­ful imagery, the film illus­trates how such migra­tion is chang­ing Chi­nese soci­ety: about 20 mil­lion chil­dren cur­rent­ly grow up with­out their par­ents, who leave to work in the cities. The images – some­times secret­ly filmed – demon­strate the price the Chi­nese people are being forced to pay for their country’s rapid eco­nom­ic growth. (Solothurn Film Festival) 


Gonzalo Ballester
Morocco 2006 | 11 Min. | miniDV, OmeU
“Ille­gal” immi­gra­tion is not only a prob­lem for our soci­ety. Not only does the immi­grant suffer from social uproot­ing but also the most dif­fi­cult part of this sit­u­a­tion: the family … read more


Olivier Dury
France 2008 | 46 Min. | 35 mm, OmeU
One image, in par­tic­u­lar, is likely to haunt view­ers: that of many men hud­dled togeth­er on the back of a truck. The men are headed north­ward, from Niger to the … read more

(Xi Wang Zhi Lu )

Ning Ying
China 2001 | 55 Min. | BetaSP, OmeU
Every year during August and Sep­tem­ber, sev­er­al thou­sand agri­cul­tur­al work­ers travel more than 1800 miles across China, from Szech­wan to the Xin­jiang Autonomous Region. There, end­less cotton fields await the … read more