American Factory



Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 96%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 80%
IMDb Rating 7.4 10 18118

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Uploaded By: FREEMAN
March 17, 2021 at 12:54 PM



1013.07 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 50 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by ferguson-6 7 / 10

two sides of failure

Greetings again from the darkness. In December 2008, General Motors shut down their truck plant in Dayton, Ohio, putting approximately 2000 employees out of work. Six years later, Chairman Cao Dewang, the founder of Fuyao Glass, invested millions to turn the shell of the plant into a retro-fitted factory and the first U.S. operation for his company - a company he claims owns 70% of the auto glass market. In doing so, the factory hired approximately 1000 locals, many of whom had not had consistent work since the GM plant closed years prior.

Co-directors Steven Bognar and Julie Reichert share an Oscar nomination (she has 3 total) for their 2009 documentary short, THE LAST TRUCK: CLOSING OF A GM PLANT. This time out, they have impressive access to a remarkable situation: a successful Chinese company opening a factory in the United States, and attempting to merge two distinctly different cultures. We hear much these days about globalization, and by the end of the film, you'll likely be re-defining the word.

This unique business model came with good intentions on both sides. The differences that start out as kind of funny and well-intentioned turn into hurdles that are nearly impossible to manage. Fuyao ships many workers from China to Dayton for the training of U.S. workers. These 'temporary' transplants must spend two years away from their family as they try to make sense of an unfamiliar land far different from home. Workshops are held for the Chinese workers as they are lectured on what makes Americans different ... they don't work as hard, they don't dress well, they talk too much on the job, they won't work overtime, etc. The Chinese blatantly state that they are superior to American workers - a point that's difficult to argue against when it comes to dedication, quality, and efficiency. We soon learn there is more to the picture.

U.S. labor and safety laws exist for a reason, and the Chinese company neither understands these, nor is very willing to abide by them. Additionally, since this is the 'rust belt', the shadow of unionization hovers from day one. While China's Workers' Union functions in sync with companies, U.S. labor unions are regularly in conflict with companies here. When the U.S. supervisors make a training and observation trip to China to see the Fuyao factory, the differences become even more obvious. The mostly overweight Americans show up casual - one even in a JAWS t-shirt - while the lean and fit Chinese are all in fine suits and ties. Morning shift routines are also contrasted to point out the gaps in discipline and attention to details.

What the filmmakers do best is allow us to see both sides of the issue. Surely the right thing to do is obvious when it comes to safety, and when Chairman Cao says the real purpose in life is one's work, well, we realize these two cultures are farther apart than the 7000 miles that separate them. It's a fair look at both sides, but for those who say U.S. companies are too focused on profit, they'll likely be surprised to learn that Chinese factory workers typically get 1 or 2 days off from work each month! As one of the dismissed American managers states, you can't spell Fuyao with "fu". The film seems to present a debate with lines drawn via citizenship and culture, and the contrast might be more relevant today than ever before.

Reviewed by celticbum 8 / 10


I am a high school history teacher in the USA. I tried showing this movie to my classes, in between lessons on industrialization and the future of automation. This helped reveal the real problems we have, in my opinion. That most of my students were uninterested, and even did not care about these future issues. All they wanted to do was play games on their phones. I told them they would be quizzed on the material to try and get them to pay attention, but they did not care. Even when writing a quick summary of the movie, most just copied and pasted their responses, one of them even used one of these comments as their source data. They watched the movie with the strong belief that they won't end up like that. That somehow, they will be immune to these future issues.

For students who do not care about their education or their future, the best teacher in the world won't help. Apathy will destroy us far quicker than anything else.

Reviewed by kpurch 10 / 10

Absolutely fascinating film

I never thought a documentary on an American manufacturing plant would be so interesting. I'm a Canadian and I still consider this a must-watch. Extremely interesting insight into the world of manufacturing in small-town USA as well as the cultural differences between the USA and China. The whole trip to the China factory seems surreal. Unfortunately this film's ratings might get turfed by certain political interests that would rather have this stuff swept under the rug.

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