American Dream (DVD) ~ Barbara Kopple (director) Cover Art

American Dream (DVD)

Jesse Jackson, Juan Munoz, Ray Rogers, Mike Kinney

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Release Note

Academy Award(R) Winner for Best Documentary, 1990, this acclaimed motion picture captures the stark reality of working men and women making impossibly tough choices about survival during a time of extreme economic crisis. When workers at the Hormel meatpacking plant in Austin, Minnesota, are asked to take a substantial pay cut in a highly profitable year, the local labor union decides to go on strike and fight for a wage they believe is fair. But as the work stoppage drags on and the strikers face losing everything, friends become enemies, families are divided, and the very future of this typical mid-American town is threatened! Also honored with the Directors Guild of America Award for Best Feature Documentary as well as the Grand Jury Prize, Audience Award, and the Filmmakers Trophy at the Sundance Film Festival -- you''ll be riveted by the compelling real-life drama in this powerful landmark film!

Director Barbara Kopple''s Oscar-winning rendering of a crippling strike at a Minnesota meat-packing plant may look dated, but the underlying theme of individuals crushed by big business remains all too timely. Using a briskly engrossing combination of first-person interviews, news broadcasts, and fly-on-the-wall encounters, Kopple creates an indelible document of a community''s dissolution at the hands of larger forces. (The film is clearly on the side of the workers, but at the same time it refuses to ignore the petty infighting that eventually helped contribute to their ruin.) An alternately depressing, uplifting, and often profanely funny film that, at times, echoes Michael Moore''s Roger and Me , but without that movie''s distancing smarm. A movie''s title has never seemed quite so bitterly apt. The director, who had previously won an Oscar for the equally arresting Harlan County USA, would later go on to document yet another traumatic event with Woody Allen''s Wild Man Blues. --Andrew Wright

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