Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 08-21-2019, 01:06 PM
FoieGrasIsEvil's Avatar
FoieGrasIsEvil is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Land of Cheese Coneys
Posts: 18,061

"American Factory" Documentary on Netflix


Anyone else watched or planning on watching this documentary? I am about halfway through it and felt it was worthy of a mention.

It's kind of a mindfuck in some ways culturally and ideologically as its about the foundation of the Fuyao Glass plant in Dayton, Ohio from the ashes of a repurposed closed GM plant.

The company is owned by a Chinese businessman (called "Chairman" throughout), and shows a multi-faceted view at the juxtaposition of the Chinese and American cultures as native Chinese workers are brought to the facility to live in Ohio and train the American workers, etc. There's also the culture clash in reverse when an all American team from the factory is brought to China to see how Fuyao runs production in their home country.

This is dear to me for a lot of reasons, but Dayton is close to me, I know people from there that used to work in that GM plant (and one whom now subsequently works for Fuyao)...but the whole thing is a bit of a trip. It's good, check it out!
__________________
Posting From Above The Browns

Last edited by FoieGrasIsEvil; 08-21-2019 at 01:07 PM.
  #2  
Old 08-22-2019, 11:06 AM
control-z is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Virginia
Posts: 12,968
Sounds interesting, I will check it out!
  #3  
Old 08-22-2019, 03:49 PM
Clawdio is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 872
Had not heard of this but i'm fascinated by the topic. Thanks for the recommendation!

For a story with a similar topic, there is a This American Life episode titled NUMMI about the auto plant created as a joint venture in 1984 between General Motors and Toyota in California and they go into the cultural differences in the auto industry between Japan & the United States. I happened to hear it in the car one day and found it utterly fascinating (i think its what really turned me on to This American Life and other long form journalism/radio).
  #4  
Old 08-22-2019, 07:36 PM
FoieGrasIsEvil's Avatar
FoieGrasIsEvil is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Land of Cheese Coneys
Posts: 18,061
Quote:
Originally Posted by control-z View Post
Sounds interesting, I will check it out!
It's definitely good, and strangely touching...and also cringeworthy at times. The part where the American execs and team leaders go to China is pretty unreal too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clawdio View Post
Had not heard of this but i'm fascinated by the topic. Thanks for the recommendation!

For a story with a similar topic, there is a This American Life episode titled NUMMI about the auto plant created as a joint venture in 1984 between General Motors and Toyota in California and they go into the cultural differences in the auto industry between Japan & the United States. I happened to hear it in the car one day and found it utterly fascinating (i think its what really turned me on to This American Life and other long form journalism/radio).
It sounds remarkably similar, especially since Fuyao makes auto glass for the major car makers.
__________________
Posting From Above The Browns
  #5  
Old 08-22-2019, 07:37 PM
FoieGrasIsEvil's Avatar
FoieGrasIsEvil is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Land of Cheese Coneys
Posts: 18,061
Oh and by the way, this is a Netflix made documentary that also won an award at Sundance this year for directing.
__________________
Posting From Above The Browns
  #6  
Old 08-23-2019, 12:29 AM
FoieGrasIsEvil's Avatar
FoieGrasIsEvil is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Land of Cheese Coneys
Posts: 18,061
What I think I have defined that I like most about this film is the sheer cultural and corporate dissonance as expressed by all parties (natch) engaged. It's even-handed culturally yet is simultaneously repulsive if that makes sense.

ETA: assuming an American POV of course
__________________
Posting From Above The Browns

Last edited by FoieGrasIsEvil; 08-23-2019 at 12:30 AM.
  #7  
Old 08-24-2019, 10:24 AM
Steve McQwark is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 354
Thanks for pointing this out, FoieGrasIsEvil. I watched it last night and found it interesting. I'm a "can't we all just get along" type of guy, so I liked the Chinese guy who worked on the furnaces and ate Twinkies and the American guy with the horses. They both seemed to be the ones most open-minded about learning from their counterparts. I was a little unsure at the end, but
SPOILER:
it looked like the Chinese furnace guy had brought his family to Ohio. Did I understand that correctly?

I thought the movie did a decent job of balancing the viewpoints of "American's aren't willing to work hard enough and that's why we're losing manufacturing jobs" with "this is the cost of that work-comes-first attitude." The filmmakers did a good job of showing why both sides would look askance at their "foreign" co-workers.

One thing about the union organizing I would like to see a follow-up on,
SPOILER:
as I understand it, it's illegal to fire someone for organizing a union. There were a couple of shots of Chinese bosses explicitly stating they were firing someone for being pro-union. Most blatantly, the guy who showed the pictures of a worker on his phone and then said the worker wouldn't be there in two weeks. I would think those workers named in the film would have open-and-shut lawsuits over illegal termination.
  #8  
Old 08-24-2019, 04:17 PM
FoieGrasIsEvil's Avatar
FoieGrasIsEvil is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Land of Cheese Coneys
Posts: 18,061
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve McQwark View Post
Thanks for pointing this out, FoieGrasIsEvil. I watched it last night and found it interesting. I'm a "can't we all just get along" type of guy, so I liked the Chinese guy who worked on the furnaces and ate Twinkies and the American guy with the horses. They both seemed to be the ones most open-minded about learning from their counterparts. I was a little unsure at the end, but

I thought the movie did a decent job of balancing the viewpoints of "American's aren't willing to work hard enough and that's why we're losing manufacturing jobs" with "this is the cost of that work-comes-first attitude." The filmmakers did a good job of showing why both sides would look askance at their "foreign" co-workers.

One thing about the union organizing I would like to see a follow-up on,
I'm glad you liked it. There was certainly some bizarre stuff (like with Sherrod Brown, or when they go to China, etc) but I agree with you: the Chinese furnace guy and the white American guy with the horses being friends amidst everything else was really cool. Both were my favorite characters too as they are the only ones that really seem to start to question their own way of doing things and wondering about the other's culture.

What I wonder is how many people were fired over the content of or the actual making of the film. Presumably all parties agreed to do the film, for various reasons I'm sure, but I don't think the finished product turned out like everyone necessarily expected!

ETA: Sorry, had to edit the spoilers out. Hey, I thought if I quoted a post with spoilers but the tags weren't open that it wouldn't reveal them!
__________________
Posting From Above The Browns

Last edited by FoieGrasIsEvil; 08-24-2019 at 04:18 PM.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:39 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2019 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017