It starts with a prayer. "It's very serious, more serious than you can imagine," says the man with the collar turned up. "Let us pray." The factory is closing. It is 2008, a cold winter day, the men and women are wearing warm jackets and caps. They shiver. They cry and hug each other. They made good money with hard work and were proud of it. To have. Were. Now they lose their jobs.
This is how the documentary begins
American Factoryjust running on Netflix. It is a movie that goes to the heart. He tells of a car factory that closed and released 10,000 people into unemployment. Then it was reopened after a Chinese investor took over. It's a story that happened in many places in the US.
The movie is quiet and cliché free. Actually, it is a movie that could be wrongly overlooked.
If there were not the people behind it. Their names do not appear in the opening credits, but the producers of the documentary are none other than Michelle and Barack Obama. American Factory is the first movie released by Higher Ground, the production company of the former First Lady of the USA and her husband. The two have signed a contract with Netflix, the streaming service will in future show series and films from Higher Ground, which deal with issues such as racism, democracy and civil rights. Seven projects are already known. One will deal with Frederick Douglass, the 19th-century former slave and human rights activist. In addition, the children's series is also in progress
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American Factory plays in a stronghold of Donald Trump. He makes you feel what it's like to lose your job in a small town in the state of Ohio – in an area where there are hardly any other jobs, at least not good ones. The decline, the hopelessness, then the relief, the strangeness of the first encounters between Chinese and Americans, which is sometimes funny, the first friendships, then the misunderstandings, the cultural clash, the growing pressure to be cheaper and more productive, the annoyance of the Trade unions – they become more than just a narrative from a foreign country; they become tangible.
The directors of the film, the couple Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar, have started filming well before Trump's election, at a time when workers in the US Rust Belt have not received as much attention as they have today. Due to the success of the populist in the middle of America and of people, as they stood and prayed in the cold in 2008, he has received a new relevance. The film is considered an Oscar candidate. At the Sundance Festival in January, he received a lot of praise, there were also employees of the Obama production company Higher Ground on it and participated. "They told us that they appreciate a film that gives the workers a voice, both of them humble, their dad was a worker, and I think they identified with the people in the film," said Reichert , So, Netflix and the Obama made a small, quiet project into a movie that can now be seen beyond the United States.
He touches, not only with tears and prayers, but also when it gets warm and funny. For example, when the Chinese manager explains the Americans to the newly arrived Ohio workers from China. "They do not put much value on stylish clothes," he lectures in front of the skeptical-looking young Chinese. "If you travel through Europe in the summer and see someone running around wearing shorts, a muscle shirt and sports shoes, you have to be an American."
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