Behind the Swoosh Film: Nike’s Factories in Indonesia

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Behind the Swoosh is a documentary worth seeing on one of Nike’s factories located in Indonesia. Unlike what we think about factories here today in the United States, you soon learn the ugly truth that in fact Nike’s factory is really a sweatshop. Workers are paid next to nothing and can barely survive. Educating for Justice Directors, Leslie Kretzu and Jim Keady are two Americans that go to Indonesia to live as one of Nike’s sweatshop workers and record their time spent living in the slums.

The film opens our eyes and makes us think about the brands we wear and how they are made, more importantly who makes them and the kind of working conditions they are faced with everyday because of big name companies that decided to outsource to other countries for cheap labor. Outsourcing has become a trend that big name companies, like Nike, have come to practice to obtain cheap labor. In documentary, Kretzu and Keady film their stay in the slums of Indonesia, the same slums that the Nike factory workers call home, living off $1. 5 a day, a wage paid to most factory workers. By doing this Keady and Kretzu really force the point of how bad living conditions are for those working for Nike. We see how little their wage can get them, and learn that it is not enough to even consider making a living let alone feeding and taking care of themselves. The film gives us a firsthand look at how people barely survive. In the film Kretzu had gotten sick during her stay in the slum and had to make a big decision between food to feed her already starving body or aspirin to bring down her fever.

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It’s a decision that people in some parts of the world would never have to make, to choose between food for the day or aspirin. I for one have never been faced with that choice or could imagine choosing between the two. It is something that sticks with viewers and makes them think over and over again, what would I do with that choice? Of course that is only one decision workers of the factories are forced to make everyone single day. The film was good in the fact that it opened our eyes to world around us.

Most don’t think about how or who made the products they buy when they go to the store, let alone how workers are treated at the job itself or how they live. My one criticism of the documentary is that I would have wished they had more interviews, more on the views of the people who live in the slums and work at one of Nike’s factories. I want to hear how they really feel, not just from a few but rather many. I understand why the directors might have had trouble finding people to interview and that is because the workers are afraid, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t show more from the people they did interview.

I would have liked to learn a lot more about the workers’ own lives through their own words rather than having two Americans, who have been well off before volunteering to live their life temporarily in slums, compared to the people who lived in the slums all their life and know no other life but the one they lead. The truth is not always easy to hear, and hearing about Nike’s factories workers may even be depressing, but it is something the world should know about. Behind the Swoosh would be a documentary I would recommend to anyone to see.

Even if you agree or disagree with what the film is about it is a good insight to see a different world other than your own. It is also a film that will make you think twice when purchasing a product, not just Nike brands, or about your own job treats you. Bottom line it makes you think and for that reason alone everyone should see it. I think it was done well enough to give you an inside look at the ugly truth that Nike has been hiding, as well as many other big companies that outsource to other countries for cheap labor.

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Behind the Swoosh Film: Nike’s Factories in Indonesia. (2017, Mar 24). Retrieved from

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