In the bowels of a textile mill in Surat, Gujarat, machines churn out reams of fabric, powered not only by electricity but the toil of human labor. In his debut feature, Rahul Jain gains almost unlimited access to the dehumanizing world of textile production that recalls another era but is happening today. We meet some of the mill’s many workers who are keenly aware of their exploitation, working gruelling daily shifts for minimal wages that barely cover their own basic living expenses, to say nothing of supporting their distant families. Still the work continues, never ending.

Premiering at the prestigious IDFA festival in Amsterdam and in competition at Sundance, MACHINES depicts the claustrophobic and overwhelming sensory experience of being in the mills while remaining close to the human cost of material production. Eschewing the traditional documentary techniques of titles, talking head expert interviews or even extended dialogue, we experience the world of the textile mill in a way only possible through film. With intelligence and emotion, MACHINES is a cinematic experience unlike any other.

Q&A to follow with director Rahul Jain

  • Director
  • Rahul Jain

    Born in New Delhi and grown up in various regions of India, Rahul Jain recently graduated with a bachelor’s of fine arts in film and video from the California Institute of the Arts. He is presently pursuing a writing MA in aesthetics and politics. MACHINES marks his debut feature.