Wuyong or Useless is looming as a must-see at this year's 40th Auckland International Film Festival, especially for those with an interest in fashion and an eye on fair trade and sustainability. Wuyong aka Useless is actually the name of Chinese designer Ma Ke's new clothing line which premiered at Paris Fashion Week in 2007. Ma Ke and her designs are the antithesis of sweatshop, lovely hand made couture, created in her workshop, a zen sanctuary compared to the industrialised cacophany of the Chinese clothing industry. The film's three parts deal effortlessly with the juxtaposition between Ma Ke's serenity, the fierce nature of industrialised Guandong where fashion is akin to steel production and a small tailors shop in a nearby mining town. Director Jia Zhangke comments that clothing "also has memories" and Jia's almost constantly moving camera reminds us that even in the modern day industrialised Goliath that is China, fashion can still be art.
Wuyong, Hong Kong/China 2007, 84m
Director: Jia Zhangke