On April 24, 2013, for many, it was their last day alive. On this day, the eight story Rana Plaza came collapsing down in Dhaka, Bangladesh with more than 1100 people announced dead. Mark Kelley goes to Bangladesh to track down workers who are still forced to make garments for Canada in dangerous conditions to make consumers think about the clothes they buy. The documentary, Made in Bangladesh, is about the tragic event made by CBC News hosted by Mark Kelley. The purpose of watching this documentary was to analyze the purpose, conventions, and techniques that are used to create a given documentary.
There are five requirements that any documentary should have. A documentary must attempt to tell the truth, which includes providing multiple perspectives on the topic. A documentary must appear to do so by presenting only factual evidence. A documentary must not distort the truth. A documentary must be objective and it must present all evidence in its original context and form. A documentary can be one of four categories: expository, observational, interactive or reflective. Made in Bangladesh is an interactive documentary because the interviews conducted allow people to have a voice and give their own opinions.
Depending on how the interview is shown, the speaker will be seen as either trustworthy or untrustworthy, which will determine the credibility of the documentary. The opening scene of Made in Bangladesh starts off with Mark Kelley in the pile of rubble, which now is a monument representing the 1100 lives lost. The purpose of the documentary was to educate consumers about the real truth of large corporation products, the horrid side of fast fashion, and those suffering because of decisions made by the fashion business.
The documentary does a decent job of proving its purpose by displaying pictures of the devastating day, presenting interviews done with some of the workers, and with some of the people that had survived. It aims to attain and demonstrate that using third world countries to make clothes at a cheaper price is not right, especially if the working conditions are inhumane. The documentary is targeted to consumers or the general public, especially those who purchase clothes made in Bangladesh for Joe Fresh. The central message of the documentary is that for selfish greed, people are willingly to let others suffer.
The director does a good job on avoiding bias by using interviews, videos, and pictures connecting to the Rana Plaza collapsing; however, bias can easily detected at times. He even goes to Bangladesh with a Sanjeet Seenik, a man that worked in the fashion industry (Walmart), to show that people who were a part of the building crashing, even indirectly, do feel remorse and do want to help. Bias can be easily detected by when Mark Kelley asks leading questions, which force the speaker to ask accordingly to the leading question.
Also, Mark Kelley lacks to talk about the positive effects of Rana Plaza on how it might have been a walk up call for workers, supervisors, employers and the fashion industry. As Jane Goodall’s philosophy says “knowledge leads to compassion and understanding which inspires action” (class notes); however, this documentary lacks to show viewers on possible actions after the falling of Rana Plaza. In regards to camera techniques, there are establishing shots, medium shots, and close up shots. Establishing shots are done mostly to display the disaster that has occurred, or the overpopulation of city.
By using establishing shots, it helps to show the main message and issue from the very beginning. Straight medium shots are used in interviews, which I find important because it is serves more of a purpose by allowing viewers to feel that they are having a conversation with that specific person. Close up shots are done when the director wants to emphasize the damage done or the company’s logo, who is most at fault. A low angle camera shot was done to make the eight story building look taller to help emphasize that a tall, hazardous building killed many people.
An eye – level shot is done when interviewing people to show no bias is present. The point of view shot was done when people were carrying the injured women which made it seem like an audience member was also carrying her to get help. This helps to provoke sadness, guilt, empathy and many other emotions in the audience. The zooming movement was done when showing people trying to get survivors out from the building. The panning movement is done to show the whole building burning. These camera shots and movements are important because different styles can make us feel like we are there and experiencing everything, while it is happening.
The format of the documentary impacts the message it is delivering by strong repetition on how companies are making the people in Bangladesh suffer through the use of various examples. One persuasive technique used in the documentary would be the appeal of emotions. The director uses a variety of pictures of injured or dead people and includes an interview with Aruti, a women who lost her mother and her leg on the same day, to make people heartbroken about the issue at hand. Another persuasive technique that is used would be repetition of the Joe Fresh logo on the clothing which connects the collapsing of Rana Plaza to Canada.
The impact of this persuasive technique is that it reinforces the message and underlines the idea being discussed about. Using this technique allows viewers to see the importance of the topic and understand the emphasis given. To leave a huge impact on the audience, credibility is important. At times, the documentary was credible, while at other times, the actions done, lower the credibility. Viewers were given reliable facts that they were able to trust, through interviews, shipping information, pictures and videos.
These reliable facts help to make the documentary more persuasive, which helps to gain the viewer’s trust. Although, little things such as asking leading questions, using monotone voiceover translations, which may or may not be correctly translated, and not emphasizing the “so what” at the end of the documentary adds to the downfalls of this documentary. Overall, the claims of the documentary was credible based on the reliability and relevance of the evidence presented in the documentary. This documentary has really opened my eyes on how individuals can be treated unfairly by others.
My favourite quote that stuck in my mind, from the documentary would be when Sanjeet says, ‘“This is a monument to greed. This has got to be the bottom. It shouldn’t go lower than this. People know about this now. It can’t continue like this. ’” This quote stays in my mind because it is one of those quote that stays in a person’s mind after hours of being heard to be pondered around. I believe this quote is true. The use of humanity for selfish greed has to stop and it stops with one person at a time.
In conclusion, the director does an effective job on educating the general public about what lead to the disaster of Rana Plaza through the use of different camera shots, factual evidence, primary sources, and through the use of persuasive techniques. The director does a good job on educating consumers on their choice of clothing and showing how companies treat their employers in Bangladesh; however, is biased on the topic at times. When interviews are done, a voice over is done to translate the language to English with the voice being very monotonous, especially at emotion times such as when Aruti talk about losing her leg.
When interviews are being conducted, Mark Kelly has a habit of asking leading questions, which pressures subjects to answer the question that is corresponds the question. Overall, I support the message Made in Bangladesh is saying, which is selfish acts of one lead to the destruction of others. Because many garment companies in Canada wanted clothes made a cheaper price, individuals in Bangladesh were forced to work in perilous companies in inhuman conditions at for $36 weekly to help their families, which eventually lead to many dying in fires or in the Rana Plaza collapsing.
Similar to others, this documentary has really opened my eyes on how individuals can be treated unfairly by others. It makes me want to think about the clothes I buy prior to doing so. This can be done by researching about the companies and their manufacturers or simply by looking at the tag connected to the piece of clothing. To help get his message across Canada, the director uses various camera angles, camera movements, persuasive techniques and credibility of claims.