Film: 9249

Industry + Work | 1960 | Sound | Colour

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Synopsis:

Recording the fast pace of Chinese industrial development since 1949, covering industry, science medicine and education and the quality of life for Chinese workers.
Industrialisation in China has increased dramatically. Opening shots show men in a steel mill shoveling fuel into huge furnaces. In contrast a craftsman is painting a T'ang statue of a horse and peasants work in a paddy-field planting rice. China has traditionally been a country of craftsmen and peasants. Various shots of the Emperor's Palace in the Forbidden City, the emperors in the past have not had much contact with the population. Shots of astronomical compasses, sundials and globes demonstrate the wealth of knowledge that foreigners have exploited in the past. Cuts to craftsmen working on statues of Buddha, Mao Zedong and military figurines. China is undergoing a planned industrial revolution, a poster shows a man with fist raised in jubilation. A huge crowd gathers before officials on a balcony, speeches are being made and a camera is located on the balcony. The crowd salute the officials with raised arms or guns.
Shot of a map of China indicating the distribution and location of its natural resources - petroleum, uranium, coal and iron. These raw materials have so far been unexploited due to a lack of machinery and trained workers.
Cuts to an iron-smith forging tools, shots of manual tools hanging on a wall and a man using an abacus to do his accounts, men pulling heavy cart-loads of cleared rock from a railway line. A group of official meet around a large table to discuss how production should be brought under state control, they now run land as managers. A small group of workers meet in the open air, they must now work for the state. In the 1950s China received financial, technical and scientific help from Russia, Chinese walk past a huge poster of Stalin on the street.
Workers feed huge furnaces in a steel mill and use modern machinery on factory assembly lines. Steel production has increased by almost ten times since 1949. Communication has also had to be improved. A train pulls out of a train station, a passenger boat travels along the Yangtse river where a new mile long rail and road bridge has been built. Trains and heavy vehicles traverse the bridge. Goods can now be moved from the north to the southern industrial centres.
A lorry factory in Manchuria. Workers are using modern electric machinery to work on an engine. The lorries lie completed in the warehouses.
A policeman directs traffic on an almost empty street in the city. There are no privately owned cars, the streets are full of bicycles, buses, horses and carts and rickshaws carrying passengers.
In contrast, a water buffalo pulls a farmer on a plough in a rice field in the country. Agricultural progress has been slower. Tractors and farm machinery are being built, a tractor demonstrates its mobility in a factory, other tractors lay waiting on the premises to be used. Textile factories have been in operation since 1949, workers operate modern machinery in a factory, making cotton spools of thread.
Students are at their books in a class room. The number of students enrolled in the Institute of Iron and Steel in Peking has increased. Two female students check gauges and make notes. A teacher at the Institute of Petroleum demonstrates how oil is refined by using a miniature rigging apparatus. Students from Inner Mongolia and Tibet walk down the steps of the Institute of Minorities in Peking. In order to enter university, students must have a devotion to the political system, they are not allowed to express their own views.
Cuts to a shot of a road parallel to the Yangtse river and a roof-top view of the city [Peking?]. Various shots of crowded streets. Development in the city has attracted immigrants from the countryside. The demand for housing has increased, a housing development called Pumpkinland in Shanghai is under construction, workers carry out work on the building.
Each factory and housing unit has its own kindergarten where children are dropped off every day while their mothers go to work. Groups of small children sing, gather around the teacher's piano and perform dances while others look on.
Cuts to a street market and vendors measure out food for their customers, a man chooses a melon and pays for it. Consumerism has increased. Children crouch outside a shop window and stare at a window display, another display shows radios for sale. City dwellers now have more time for leisure, couples are boating on the river, posing for photographs, having tea in a park and a couple walk arm and arm down the street. In the past public signs of affection were forbidden.
Surgeons are operating in the Peking hospital for heart diseases. Surgical instruments are laid out and staff are using a heart and lung machine. These instruments have been produced in China. A mirror above the patient reflects the operation briefly.
Again, workers are in a factory and a steel mill, the camera pauses on individual faces.
Returns to the crowd scene in the beginning, China is fast achieving industrial power, only time will tell what it will do with it.


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