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      American Factory

      Released Aug 21, 2019 1 hr. 49 min. Documentary TRAILER for American Factory: Trailer 1 List
      95% 95 Reviews Tomatometer 82% 500+ Ratings Audience Score In post-industrial Ohio, a Chinese billionaire opens a new factory in the husk of an abandoned General Motors plant. Early days of hope and optimism give way to setbacks as high-tech China clashes with working-class America. Read More Read Less

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      American Factory


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      American Factory

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      Critics Consensus

      American Factory takes a thoughtful -- and troubling -- look at the dynamic between workers and employers in the 21st-century globalized economy.

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      Audience Reviews

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      The Med City Movie Guy R Equal pay for equal work? In my younger days, I worked in a union factory in Chicago. Thanks to the efforts of our local, we made exactly 15 cents more per hour than the prevailing minimum wage. Meanwhile, those in Detroit factories doing the same assembly or custodial work, earned more than four times that wage. With youthful insolence I recall complaining to our steward, "It's not fair that they make so much more than we do, after all, we're just as unskilled as they are." We didn't know it, but we were on the cusp of foreign competition and it wouldn't be long before factory owners across the world began asking the same question and relocating where the labor pool was larger and consequently, wages lower. While I don't know anyone who likes this (then again, I don't know any factory owners), it's hard not to notice the popularity of the Dollar Stores which are made possible only by cheap efficient manufacturing. Thus American Factory, probably the best documentary of the year, speaks to me. It follows the efforts of a Chinese billionaire reopening a shuttered Dayton, Ohio glass plant and hiring furloughed GM workers at a fraction of their former salary — though in-line with the global wage. The revelatory tale of how a large part of the world to which we're oblivious works and how they perceive American laborers (expensive, coddled, and inefficient) is enough to make you xenophobic and nostalgic for protectionism. My old employer, Turtle Wax, has long-since off-shored production as have many other manufacturers driven by both consumers' appetite for inexpensive products and the need to profit which is precisely Cao Dewang's objective for his American Factory. What's especially unsettling here is the absence of any hope for the future of wages: the film closes in relative silence as we watch legions of robotic arms perform the same glass windshield examination that only an hour earlier we saw low-paid workers carry out. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 03/04/24 Full Review Spencer P An open look into the factory industries of America and China, this doc gives insight into how two cultures handle business and treat their workers, with troublingly unsatisfactory results. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/10/24 Full Review Moody C Total skip. Why watch something grim and hopeless for the future? Nobody knows how the future will play out. They can make guesses that machines will replace us blah blah blah but again why worry or why even watch such drivel when you can watch something funny and entertaining. Total fail for the Obamas and glad I'm canceling Netflix - they have such boring, poorly produced originals. Most of documentary is about awful Chinese bosses trying to tame their "inferior" American workers. I only enjoyed the part when the white dude waves a union sign inside factory and then got escorted out. He's like that's fine, they treat ppl like sht in there - and that about sums up this stupid show. Rated 1.5 out of 5 stars 09/21/23 Full Review Mike M Weird how so many of the comments and reviews of this fine documentary seem to miss the point of it! The producers keep their powder dry until the documentary appears to be ending, then reveal that it is not really about the difference between US and Chinese working cultures - although that is fascinating in itself - but about the coming of automation; all, or just about all, of these jobs are going to be done by machines in the future. The US workers have already adapted to earning about half the wages they used to get and even so they are already being steadily replaced by machines. The Chinese workers, through working themselves into the ground, are competing for now, but the machines will be cheaper than humans in the end. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 04/24/23 Full Review Audience Member The Obamas' instinctual storytelling pursuits, in inspiring coming generations for a better outlook that needs regaining over costly innovations that'll lacks the delicate touches, bolsters this documentary over differential labors in one industrial sample amidst cultural clash with little progress from the initially optimistic hope towards the familiarly expected routines. The true core at the center values what sort of potential can come when inspired in collectively coming up with solutions rather than arguing which sides in the wrong of these issues, especially with foreign assistance in economic heal, as demonstrated and hinted. (B+) Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/17/23 Full Review Pablo B This is a very well filmed documentary. I felt like the director did a fantastic job to keep their bias out of the film and try to portray both sides. There were so many great examples of this such as when the woman moves back into her own apartment and talks about gaining her independence, flash forward to four Chinese workers after a twelve hour shift, sitting around a folding table with folding chairs eating dinner. The contrast of the Chinese workers versus the American workers is startling. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 01/16/22 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

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      Critics Reviews

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      Scott Bryan This documentary speaks to everyone - those on the factory floor and the CEO ... It shows both sides and lets you make up your own mind. Jul 15, 2020 Full Review Andrea Gronvall Chicago Reader Could not have been more timely. Feb 21, 2020 Full Review David Fear Rolling Stone American Factory sets out to chart what's supposed to be a test run for the future of the auto industry and an example of positive international relations. It ends up capturing a cross-cultural car wreck in slow motion. Rated: 4/5 Sep 13, 2019 Full Review Erick Estrada Cinegarage The documentary gains depth when it dives into the company's search for profit at the workers expense and takes a critical look at the capitalist system. [Full review in Spanish] Jul 19, 2023 Full Review Victor Pineyro Seventh Art Studio I would say it has some political notion and delivers some interesting divisions between the East and the West. Yet it adds very little to the art of making a documentary and at least trying to make it appealing to the eye. [Full review in Spanish] Rated: 6/10 Jun 23, 2022 Full Review Brian Eggert Deep Focus Review It leaves you reeling from the complex, unresolvable cultural dynamics at play in our present and future globalization. Rated: 3/4 Feb 22, 2022 Full Review Read all reviews

      Movie Info

      Synopsis In post-industrial Ohio, a Chinese billionaire opens a new factory in the husk of an abandoned General Motors plant. Early days of hope and optimism give way to setbacks as high-tech China clashes with working-class America.
      Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert
      Executive Producer
      Jeff Skoll, Diane Weyermann
      Production Co
      Participant Media
      Original Language
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Aug 21, 2019, Limited
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Aug 21, 2019
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