Visions du Réel Review: A Marble Travelogue

We live in a global consumer-driven world and while this might have been great for many in the West in terms of low prices, when the pandemic hit we saw the drawbacks of this supply chain. War has caused another rift in this complex arrangement. Europe, in general, has outsourced its manufacturing to the far east. Willing to turn a blind eye to unethical practices, slave labour and child exploitation if it saves us a bit of money.

China has become the manufacturing heartland of the world and we saw the repercussions when COVID-19 came out to play. The thing is, while the country is huge and blessed with myriad natural resources, that doesn’t mean it has everything. Take marble, for instance. Those tourist trinkets you can buy at say The Parthenon may have been produced by The Red Dragon but the material itself is native. A Marble Travelogue follows this strange circuitous voyage.  

We’re joined by a pair of Chinese speaking twins, daughters of a Greek businessman, on this journey. A Marble Travelogue follows the long-winded process from quarry to the gift shop, observing those lives it touches on its globetrotting travels. In the process we become embroiled in a number of different social and ethical issues. Sean Wang’s film is a thoughtful meditation on modern life and the absurdities and injustices of twenty-first century consumerism.

A Marble Travelogue screens at Visions du Réel.

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