“Detropia” — a film about a city in tragic decline

“Capitalism is a great system, I love it, but it exploits the weak”, says one of the main characters in the stunning documentary “Detropia” currently playing at the premier documentary film festival “Silverdocs” in Silver Spring, Maryland, just outside Washington, DC.

The film, about the impact on an entire city and its inhabitants of the brutal side of American capitalism, is the grim tale of the decline of Detroit, from a glamorous city with nearly 2 million inhabitants and a thriving automotive industry, to a city in tragic decline that has lost over half its population and with a higher percentage of poor people than any other American city.

Made by young documentary filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, the film is currently shown in packed theaters at the festival on the premises of the American Film Institute. Their film creates the same heartbreaking impressions as the two young French photographers Yves Marchand’s and Romain Meffres’ book “The Ruins of Detroit”, which I wrote about last year.

And the conclusion is also the same: how could America let this happen?

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“Clint Eastwood made Obama’s day”

The Clint Eastwood television ad during the Super Bowl last night about Detroit and Chrysler and the U.S. automotive industry’s strong comeback has created quite a stir, both in the ad world and in election politics.

The two-minute long ad, “Halftime in America” is very similar to the Chrysler ad with Eminem during last year’s Super Bowl.

It is also similar to the classic TV ad from 1984, “Morning in America”, about Ronald Reagan.

Republican strategist Karl Rove is upset while liberal bloggers are delighted and claim that “Eastwood made Obama’s day”.

Is “Halftime in America” political advertising? Can it be seen as endorsing President Obama and, indirectly, his actions that saved Detroit’s car industry?

Obama and his name are never mentioned in ”Halftime in America”, and Eastwood, a republican or rather a libertarian, is not talking, at least not yet.

Myself, I’m not sure. Calling it an endorsement for Obama is probably reading too much into it. But take a look and judge for yourselves!