conversation. And in this case. whether General Motors laid off 37.000 workers at such and such a time. or whether it was 35.000 or even 30.000. that‘s not the real question here. The root issue here is that when a huge corporation is still making profits why does it lay off all these people in its hometown and start opening factories in Mexico where the labour‘s like dirt cheap? How do you defend that? Well. you don‘t. you can‘t. What you do is to try and steer the debate away from the real issue towards the non-issue.
‘They‘re trying to put me down as though I‘m purveying some distorted version of America. but you ask the people who actually live in Flint and you know what they say? You made the place look too pretty, you (litln '1 show how truly rotten it really is .'
Has that been the prime reaction from Flint?
‘Well. no. The mayor and the authorities are very upset. because they managed to keep it quiet for all these years. You never heard of Flint. Michigan. right?‘
‘Ofcourse you didn‘t. The home of General Motors and the largest ever lay-offin the history of the industrialised world. And you‘ve never heard of it; the general public‘s never heard of it. I‘d say the Flint mayor's office had been doing a pretty good job all these years.‘
There's a lot of humour in the film. Many of the good people of Flint seem to capitalise on the presence of the camera by coming across as several sandwiches short of a picnic. Did they ever feel though. that Moore was getting laughs at their expense?
’I thought laughter was the only way to handle the situation. That kind of traditional documentary where you see the bag ladies and the unemployment lines just makes the viewer feel numb. It can be so depressing it makes you want to forget about it as soon as you‘ve seen it. And the people in those things come across as so one-dimensional. they‘re just the victims. the poor. poor victims. I wanted Roger and Me to be much more about human beings. The rabbit woman that turns up selling bunnies For Pets 0r Meat. She‘s very funny. But on the other hand she’s very sad. and maybe just a little bit crazy. There are multiple aspects to her character. like you or me or anybody else. And that‘s really why I think the general public have taken to this movie in a big way. because it's not the same old thing.
‘Look. can you hold on. this guy‘s getting agitated here.‘
There follows much vague shufﬂing and setting down of receivers. I fear that it is indeed the impenetrable Cork brogue of. Mister. uh. Murphy faintly declaiming. ’Yis. sort. but my pigs is important too.‘
I sense that we are drawing to a close. and so it proves to be. ‘I think I‘m going to have to go. Uh. thanks a lot.‘
Roger and Me ([5) is at the Cannon Sauchiehall Street and the Edinburgh Cameo from Fri 27Apr. See Film Listings for further details.
‘The mayor and the authorities are very upset, because they managed to keep it quiet torall these years. You never heard of Flint, Michigan, right?’
‘Ol course you didn’t. The home of General Motors and the largest ever lay-oil in the history of the industrialised world. And you’ve never heard of it; the general public’s never heard of it. I’d saythe Flint mayor’s office had been doing a pretty good job all these years.’
Man with a movie camera Michael Moore with a couple of Flint residents. Rhoda ‘the rabbit woman’ Britton who sells bunnies ‘For Pets or Meat'. and busy sheritt Fred Ross who takes care of all the local evictions.
The List 20 April — 3 May 1990 5