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Roger and Me

Roger and Me, filmed by Michael Moore, is a documentary that covers the effects on Flint, Michigan, and thousands of GM employees who lost their jobs when the CEO of GM, Roger Smith, closed Flint’s plants for cheaper labor costs south of the American border. The film is a hodge-podge of bizarre images, odd happenings, and real-life strangeness. To tell his story of the effects of GM pulling out of Flint on GM employees, Moore uses a variety of already shot visuals (home movies, newsreels, TV footage, commercials) and new material he shot with a bare-bones crew. The structure and scope of the film are wide-ranging and complex, all combined to offer a scathing satire of corporate failure and callousness and, mainly, the Reagan era. Two motifs are used to weave together plot threads that include a former GM employee who now kills and skins rabbits to make a living to the CEO of GM, Smith, reading Dicken’s A Christmas Carol with all the blithe, Reaganesque sentimentality imaginable. The first motif is Moore’s attempt to get Smith to visit with the people whose lives have been displaced by his decision to pull out of Flint. The second motif concerns Moore following a former GM employee who now throws people out of their houses for failure to pay their rent or mortgage. The film is a combination of the film-as-catalyst and cinema verite discussed by Barnouw (261) “Film as catalyst was finding diverse applications. While at one extreme it could probe festering social sores, at another it could tackle playfully sadistic projects…Catalyst cinema—cinema verite-influenced the evolution of film technique in ways ranging from beneficial to disastrous.”

Moore’s film is certainly playfully sadistic as he bashes everyone with equal abandon, from celebrities brought to town to cheer up the good folks of Flint to the woman who skins rabbits who comes off as just plain weird herself. Film critic Pauline Kael wrote a scathing r...

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Roger and Me. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 21:19, June 26, 2019, from