New York, Aug 22 (AP/UNB) — A documentary about an Ohio auto glass factory that is run by a Chinese investor debuted Wednesday on Netflix as the streaming service's first project backed by Michelle and Barack Obama's new production company.
Filmmakers Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert said they learned of the Obamas' interest after "American Factory" was shown at the Sundance film festival and they were pitching the film to Netflix. They were told the Obamas had screened it days earlier.
They're ecstatic about the support, and in an interview Wednesday were quick to dissuade anyone from the idea that the film is delivering a message either for or against any politician.
"They got what we were trying to do, which is to tell a story that sort of transcends the year-to-year politics," Bognar said.
Bognar and Julia Reichert, who live in the Dayton, Ohio, area where Fuyao Glass replaced an abandoned General Motors plant, said they were initially interested in exploring a culture clash, but the film deepened into a story about the rights of workers, globalization and automation.
The Fuyao plant, bought by Chinese industrialist Cao Dewang, employs some 2,200 American and 200 Chinese workers. The film gives a close-up look at how the cultures adjust to one another. At one point, a Chinese worker explains that Americans are slow because they have fat fingers. Many Chinese at the plant consider the Americans lazy. The Americans at the plant question what they see as Chinese workers unquestioned devotion to a company that robs them of time to enjoy life.
At the factory's opening ceremony, Dave Burrows, the vice president of the American factory, privately curses out Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown for suggesting that the Chinese owner be open to running a union shop. Two years later, after he's been fired, Burrows drives by the factory and bitterly notes that you can't spell Fuyao without an "f'' and "u."
Tensions rise when the factory doesn't initially meet production goals, culminating in a bitter fight over the right to unionize.
In one of the last scenes, an employee gives Cao a tour of the factory floor and boasts about how automation provides Fuyao with the opportunity to fire workers.
The name of the Obamas' company, Higher Ground, flashes by in the opening credits, but the Obamas themselves aren't mentioned anywhere. Neither is President Donald Trump.
Netflix worked in partnership with Higher Ground to acquire the film from Participant Media earlier this year, and gave no details about the financing. Netflix released a brief clip Wednesday of the Obamas discussing their interest in the project with the filmmakers.
"One of the many things I love about this film ... is that you let people tell their own story," the former first lady said. "'American Factory' doesn't come in with a perspective. It's not an editorial. I mean, you truly let people speak for themselves, and that is a powerful thing that you don't always see happen."
Former President Obama said that they want people to look outside of their own experiences to understand the lives of others.
That "is what a good story does," he said. "It helps all of us feel some solidarity with each other."
Reichert said she's seen some commentary that the Obamas were interested in the film as a criticism of Trump, and said that was stupid.
"It has zero to do with Trump or Obama, or the political scene at all," she said. "It's about the lives of average working people in the heartland. It's really a close up and intimate look at what globalization looks like."
One of the American workers is shown bonding with Chinese colleagues, inviting several to a Thanksgiving dinner and to drive his motorcycle. Later, the worker is fired because it took him too long to use a computer.
Reichter said she and Bognar were grateful to Cao for allowing them access to the factory. The company chairman mostly comes off as a cold-blooded capitalist, but one arresting scene toward the end shows him wrestling with his legacy.
"We hope that people realize that without empathy for people who are different from you, you're not going to solve the political divide," Bognar said. "We're not going to solve gaping problems in this world. You have to put yourself in someone else's shoes to help see and feel other people's points of view."
Los Angeles, Aug 22 (AP/UNB) — Liam Hemsworth is seeking a divorce from Miley Cyrus after seven months of marriage.
The 29-year-old Australian actor filed for the dissolution of his marriage to the 26-year-old American pop star in Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday.
Hemsworth, whose attorney Laura Wasser has been involved in many major stars' divorces, cited irreconcilable differences as the reason for the split.
The two were an on-again, off-again couple for more than a decade before marrying in December. They announced their separation on Aug. 10.
They have no children but said in the statement announcing their separation that they will remain "dedicated parents to all of their animals they share."
Dhaka, Aug 21 (UNB) – Eminent actor and one of the most iconic film-personalities of Bangladesh, ‘Nayak Raj’ Razzak’s 2nd death anniversary has been observed on Wednesday. The beloved actor left the mundane world on this day in 2017, at the age of 75.
Marking the occasion, the artiste’s family arranged a programme which includes offering prayers at the actor’s graveyard at Banani and milad Mahfil.
Also, to commemorate and pay homage to the legendary actor, various socio-cultural organizations including Bangladesh Film Artiste and Directors Associations placed floral wraths on the actor’s grave at the Banani. Various organisations arranged programmes including discussion highlighting his remarkable life and works.
Several satellite television channels and Bangladesh Television aired his widely-popular movies to pay tribute to this legend of Bengali cinema.
Born on January 23, 1942, at Naktala of South Kolkata, Razzak became a very popular actor in both Bangladesh and West Bengal. He started his career as a member of the troupe Rongo Shobha Natya Dal. Later in 1961 he went to Mumbai to get a diploma at the Filmalaya Film Institute.
During the Kolkata communal violence known as the infamous Hindu-Muslim riot in 1966, he came to Dhaka as refugee along with his family and thus his life in Dhaka began as a blessing in disguise.
Razzak started his struggling life in Dhaka from the very beginning as an actor and assistant director. At this time, he worked in small roles in the successful films like Akheri Station and Tero Nombor Feku Ostagor Lane.
Legendary director Zahir Raihan finally gave Razzak first major break in his film Behula (1966) which launched him as the lead actor. Razzak was then serving as one of his assistants in the film’s set, and Zahir found him as the perfect one for the lead role. Since then, his career skyrocketed towards success.
His successful journey continued with films such as Abirbhab, Moynamoti, Taka Ana Pai, Dorpochurno and Jibon Theke Neya which is widely acclaimed as the national cinema of Bangladesh. He continued working on the films as a heart-throb in the industry with films such as Manusher Mon, Osru Diye Lekha, Ora Egaro Jon, Maynamati, Obujh Mon, Neel Akasher Niche, Chhutir Ghonta, Ashikkhito, Ki Je Kori, Boro Bhalo Lok Chhilo, Chandranath, Jogajog and Beimaan, to name a few.
He became the first action hero of the country with Zahirul Haq's Rongbaj, and by then Razzak's career started to become more versatile with ‘mold-breaking’ roles. At that time, he was given the title ‘Nayak Raj’ (King of Heroes), by prominent journalist Ahmed Zaman Chowdhury who was the editor of famous film magazine Chitrali in 1973.
Besides his monumental success as an actor, Razzak also had a pioneering career as a producer and director. He emerged as producer with the film Akankha in 1976 and debuted as a director with his film Ononto Prem in 1977. He established his own production company Rajlokkhi Productions and made several films from the banner.
Razzak, throughout his versatile career, won Bangladesh National Film Award five times as for best actor for his roles in the films Ki Je Kori (1976), Ashikkhito (1978), Boro Bhalo Lok Chhilo (1982), Chandranath (1984) and Jogajog (1988).
He was awarded the Independence Day Award in 2015 by the Government of Bangladesh. He was also awarded several lifetime achievement awards, most notably Indo-Bangla Kala Music Awards (2003), Bachshas Awards (2009), Meril Prothom Alo Awards (2014) and Tele Cine Awards in Kolkata (2017). He went on to become the first Bangladeshi actor to be a UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador. Razzak later founded the Bangladesh Film Artistes' Association.
A devoted family-man, Razzak was married to Khairunnesa who was always called Laxmi by Razzak. Together they had three sons, Bapparaj, Bappi, and Samrat- and two daughters, Nasrin Pasha & Afrin Alam. His sons Bapparaj and Samrat became actors in the industry following their father’s glorious footsteps.
New York, Aug 20 (AP/UNB) — The 25th James Bond movie has a title: "No Time to Die."
Producers announced the moniker Tuesday for the film that has long been referred to simply as "Bond 25."
"No Time to Die" returns Daniel Craig to the role of 007. Lea Seydoux, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw and Ralph Fiennes return as cast members. Rami Malek plays the villain.
"No Time to Die," directed by Cary Fukunaga, is to be released in the U.K. on April 3, 2020, and in the United States on April 8.
A few setbacks have marked the production. An explosion during shooting at Pinewood Studios in June injured a crew member and damaged the sound stage. Craig hurt his foot in May while performing a stunt in Jamaica that required minor ankle surgery.
Dhaka, Aug 20 (UNB) - James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad has added German comic to its cast, reports The Indian Expess.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Pitch Perfect 2 actor joins series newcomers Idris Elba, John Cena, Daniela Melchior and David Dastmalchian.
Margot Robbie, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney and Joel Kinnaman will reprise their roles for the Warner Bros and DC movie.
Gunn is also writing the film, which is a sequel to David Ayer’s 2016 antihero feature.
Chuck Roven and Peter Safran are attached as producers.
The film is scheduled to be released on August 6, 2021.