Film Studies: Factors of Documentary Filmmaking

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Michael Moore is an American documentarian whose work focuses on political issues and injustices in the United States. In Roger and Me (1989), Moore's first feature length production, the filmmaker makes an unequivocal statement about the social responsibilities of corporations. By focusing on General Motors and Moore's hometown of Flint, Michigan, Moore is able to explore the complex relationship between a corporation and the town that depends on that corporation for the local labor market. Thus, corporations like General Motors are engaged in a co-dependent relationship with an entire community. Moore exposes both the benefits and the drawbacks of this relationship, primarily showing that the perceived initial benefits to the Flint community were short-lived and tenuous. Starting the film with personal anecdotes and using first-person narration throughout the movie, Moore shows how multiple generations of Flint residents like his father had come to trust General Motors as a purveyor of jobs and job security. Because there is an expectation of trust on the part of the entire community, the shutting down of the Flint, Michigan plant constitutes a gross ethical violation, Moore suggests in his film. The title refers to then-Chairman of the Board of General Motors, Roger Smith. The film's title also underscores Moore's personal approach to documentary narration, and the filmmaker never purports to be objective in his delivery of the workers' side of the story. Roger and Me
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