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David H Dallas PS 302 Political Science Film Clarion University of PA Essay 2 Documentaries Feature Films and Labor Struggles Comparing Roger and Me and American Dream June 2 2003 aWhat happened to Flint Michigan and Austin Minnesota in the 1980s Flint Michigan was the birthplace of General Motors In the early 1980s GM announced that they were closing eleven of their production facilities GM would then be opening the same number of facilities in Mexico Michael Moore whose family members were life long GM employees asserted that this put over 30000 workers on the unemployment line but the actual figure was closer to 5000 Moore spotlights the plight of the workers and the indifference of GMs management in a darkly humorous documentary called Roger and Me Throughout the film Moore and his camera crew stalk the GM Chairman from GM headquarters to health clubs hotels and shareholders meetings ostensibly to invite him to Flint Michigan to see the results of the plant closings Moore never does gain access to Moore and has to settle for GM spokesperson Thomas Kay Moore brings together a collage of the Flint area contrasting the activities of the elite with the misery of the poor The camera cuts from exclusive garden parties to scenes of unemployed workers being evicted from their homes Particularly effective was the scene of GMs Christmas Program for its executives resplendent with formally clad choir members and lavish decorations GM Chairman Roger Smith reads a Dickenss passage remarking how Christmas is a charitable forgiving time as Moore cuts to scenes of an ex GM employee and family being evicted from their home Roger and Me contains ample evidence of the thoughtlessness of the upper class society A group of women golfers says that most of the unemployed like being on welfare and are just too lazy to look for work Reagan comes to town and suggests the unemployed move
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