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American Factory

  • Documentary and factual
  • 2019
  • Steven Bognar
  • 115 mins
  • 12

Summary

In post-industrial Ohio, a Chinese billionaire opens a factory in an abandoned General Motors plant, hiring two thousand Americans. Early days of hope and optimism give way to setbacks as high-tech China clashes with working-class America.

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Review

A star rating of 4 out of 5.

Hi-tech China meets blue-collar America when co-directors Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert return to the recession-hit Ohio factory that provided the subject of their 2009 short film The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant. It's 2015, seven years after the closure, and Chinese billionaire Chairman Cao is about to launch a state-of-the-art glass-making facility in the old General Motors factory, providing employment and hope for the former workforce and his Chinese employees. So far, so progressive, but it's not long before a clash of cultures occurs between efficiency-driven management and safety-conscious American workers, with the former expecting 12-hour shifts, no weekends off, no chit-chat and definitely no union representation - an Ohio senator's mention of unions at the factory's opening ceremony is like a slap in the face to Cao and his entourage. Indeed, the company uses a "union avoidance consultant" to dissuade the increasingly disgruntled workers from signing up. It's a tad long, but Bognar and Reichert's fascinating, Oscar-winning documentary is still a prophetic snapshot of things to come in a world increasingly subject to automation and globalisation.

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Credits

Crew

rolename
DirectorSteven Bognar
DirectorJulia Reichert

Details

Theatrical distributor
Netflix
Released on
2019-08-21
Languages
English
Formats
Colour
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