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American Factory (2019)

TV-14 | | Documentary | 21 August 2019 (USA)
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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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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 15 wins & 39 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Junming 'Jimmy' Wang ... Himself - Vice President, Fuyao
Robert Allen ... Himself - Furnace Off-Loader (as Bobby)
Sherrod Brown ... Himself - U.S. Senator, Ohio
Dave Burrows ... Himself - Vice President, Fuyao Glass America
Austin Cole ... Himself - Tempering Backlight Production Supervisor
John Crane ... Himself - Fuyao Safety Director
John Gauthier John Gauthier ... Himself - President, Fuyao Glass America
Rob Haerr ... Himself - Furnace Supervisor
Cynthia Harper ... Herself - Lamination Specialist
Wong He ... Himself - Furance Engineer
Timi Jernigan ... Himself - Furnance Technician
Jill Lamantia ... Herself - Forklift Operator
Jeff Daochuan Liu ... Himself - President, Fuyao Glass America
Shawnea Rosser ... Herself - Glass Inspector
Rebecca Ruan-O'Shaughnessy Rebecca Ruan-O'Shaughnessy ... Herself - Fuyao Attorney
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Cultures collide. Hope survives.

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

TV-14 | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Mandarin

Release Date:

21 August 2019 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

American Factory See more »

Filming Locations:

Moraine, Ohio, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first film released from the new production company Higher Ground, founded by former US president Barack Obama and his wife Michelle. See more »

Quotes

Himself - Fuyao Safety Director: Everybody at every level will say that we really, really want to be safe. But safety doesn't pay the bills.
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User Reviews

 
Anyone concerned about the effects on real people of globalization should see this film
23 August 2019 | by MengedegnaSee all my reviews

This film is an extraordinary achievement. With footage going back over the years, the directors have pieced together the saga of the establishment of a Chinese-run industrial operation in Dayton on the site of a much-lamented closed GM plant, illustrating, with total objectivity, the contradictions that ensue from the imposition of one national worldview upon another in a dynamic that it never a clash of equals. The impatience and contempt of the Chinese investors toward their U.S. workforce and the consequent cultural conflicts are highlighted to devastating effect, illustrated by what American viewers will find to be an uncomfortable dissection of their own culture, in all its fatuous self-indulgence, by amazing footage of lectures on the subject by Chinese cross-cultural consultants as they lecture Chinese workers and supervisors sent to Dayton to show Americans in how things should be done.

At the Q&A at the premiere at IFC Center, co-director Julia Reichert was at pains to stress that the film was never meant to be polemical, that this was an effort to immerse and learn. While some of the silllier aspects of both cultures, (but especially the regimented and self-congratulatory aspects of the Chinese). come through with particular acuity, you can't help buy muse on how Americans have acted with equal tin-earedness and cultural arrogance around the world, over many more decades than the Chinese have been at this game.

At the same time, America's neediness of manufacturing jobs, even if they don't pay a living wage, and the ways that so many of what we would normally consider our core values go out the window to accommodate anyone who will invest in them, come through particularly clearly. This all comes together in a fight over the establishment of a union that would protect workers' rights and uphold our eroding safety and environmental standards that is the vivid core of the movie.

A final note: This film has an extraordinarily compelling musical score by someone names Chad Cannon that propels and highlights the narrative and is amazingly effective on its own terms. Although the idiom is different, Cannon's score does for this film much of what Philip Glass's have done over the years for the films of Errol Morris, and that is high praise indeed.


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