EPISODE 702: HARLAN COUNTY U.S.A. and AMERICAN FACTORY

October 2, 2019

For this second episode of our current season we try something new with a look back at an important film from the past, Barbara Kopple’s 1976 Harlan County U.S.A., which won the 1977 Best Documentary Oscar. Why this trip down docu-memory lane? Two reasons: 1) our guest host this week is actually a guest historian, Betsy McLane, who not only knows just about everything there is to know about documentary history, but also knows quite a lot about Kopple; and 2) the coal miners of Harlan County, Kentucky, are once again on strike, gaining national and international attention over the summer. Plus ça change … 

And while we’re on the topic of great films about unions, we thought we’d also play a recent interview Chris did with directors Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert of American Factory, just recently released on Netflix, which tells the story of what happens when a Chinese glass company takes over an abandoned GM plant. It starts out so well, but then, well … you’ll just have to listen to our podcast and then watch the movie. As always, you can find the audio of the episode on our "episodes" page, on Apple Podcasts and other sites. Enjoy!

Christopher Reed