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A poetic tour through Detroit’s abandoned, ghostly Packard Automotive Plant

Detroit’s Packard Automotive Plant was once considered to be the finest in the world, and an emblem of the city’s economic and industrial might. But more than 60 years after manufacturing its last luxury car, the long-abandoned facility has transformed into a symbol for Detroit’s decades-long economic slide. The US filmmaker Brian Kaufman brings us into the plant at a unique moment in time: long after its life as an automotive powerhouse, but before its demolition and rehabilitation, which began in late 2014. With the building’s fate uncertain, it becomes something of a Rorschach test for locals, who view it by turns as a danger, a venue for public art, an eyesore, and the damaged spirit of a city desperately in need of revitalisation. Packard: The Last Shift – which is split between a poem from the Detroit-based Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Philip Levine and interviews with residents of the city – is excerpted from an eponymous 2014 feature-length documentary on the plant.

Director: Brian Kaufman

Producer: Kathy Kieliszewski

24 January 2017

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