Mr. Ye and his wife get up very early in the dark days of early January. They prepare their fields for cotton seeding. A few thousand miles South, 19 year old Ping has injured her leg. Her request for free time to see the doctor is refused. Like many Chinese girls of her town, she works the local cotton spinning machines. After a hard day sewing and packing jeans, Mr. Wei and his wife go to the factory’s basement where they have a small room with a bed and a makeshift stove; they live here 51 weeks of the year.
Yan, 30 years old, and her husband enjoy a last breakfast together with their three children. Later in the day, she will travel North to work during the next three months as a seasonal cotton picker.
These are the main protagonists of our film. With their personal stories, they will allow us to enter into one of the most intensive industries in China. From the cotton plantations of Xinjiang in the North-west to the “Fashion weeks” in the South, passing by the spinning factories as well as the jeans manufactories, we will follow the critical path of China’s White Gold.
Since the economic reforms of the 80’s, a whole generation of Chinese citizens is exposed to the challenges of the “New Deal” proposed by their Leaders. Zhou Hao, the director, takes the viewer behind the scenes of this very iconic Industry, in the light of those reforms. This will allow us to witness the emergence of a new society where competition has become the new order, where “winning” is the “credo”. A Society build on a class system that in former years had been successfully erased by the communist ideals of Mao Zedong. Fortunately, despite of the incredible working conditions of our protagonists, struggling on the social ladder, their humanity and extraordinary courage fills them with a proud dignity.