In the city of Zhili, not very far from Shanghai, everything revolves around the textile industry. The city has over 18,000 sewing workshops, where some 300,000 workers produce huge quantities of clothes day in and day out. Many of these textile workers are young people from rural areas around the Yangtze River. They are motivated and tireless, because after all, one day they need to start a family. Friendships and love affairs are formed as easily as they are broken, there is talking, laughing, teasing and arguing, after which the night is spent in dormitories.
Filmmaker Wang Bing, who is known as a man who uncompromisingly portrays China's socio-economic realities, spend five years in Zhili to portray everyday life in the countless workshops. He takes his time; in almost three-and-a-half hours, he snatches some of the young workers from the anonymity of the masses.