Monday, October 19, 2009

'Schmatta' Turns Recession into a History Lesson

The recent worldwide recession has numerous filmmakers turning their cameras towards the economic systems that may or may not have contributed to our current dire straits. But while many are covering the 'why', documentarian Marc Levin is using the crisis as a starting point, not a destination. His most recent film, Schmatta: Rags to Riches to Rags, investigates New York's once-powerful garment trade before economics shifted production of 95% of U.S.-sold apparel overseas.

Admittedly, Levin's film sounds a little boring. But learning that the garment industry back in the 1950s was New York City's biggest employer makes you wonder how things changed so drastically. More importantly (for non-New York natives), it stands as a potential reflection as to why most of the U.S.' major industries now find themselves outsourced to foreign countries.

No, it most likely won't be the scathing investigation Michael Moore would desire, but considering Levin lost a relative to a major sweatshop fire, I doubt it will be all sunshine and roses either. Plus, with the powerful HBO Films helping develop the feature, it's sure to keep you engaged.

If you are interested, Schmatta: Rags to Riches to Rags airs tonight on HBO.

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