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6 Degrees Entertainment

'Frontline: Left Behind America'
(DVD / NR / 2018 / PBS)

Overview: 'Frontline: Left Behind America' tells intimate stories of one Rust Belt city's struggle to recover in the post-recession economy.

FRONTLINE and ProPublica report on the economic and social forces shaping Dayton, OH, a once-booming city where nearly 35 percent now live in poverty.

DVD Verdict: Hosted by Alec MacGillis and produced by Paul Cadieux, Shimon Dotan, and Nancy Guerin, 'Frontline: Left Behind America' from PBS is one of the most crucial hour's worth of programming you'll see this year.

In the decade since the Great Recession, many American cities and towns have bounced back. But for some small and mid-size cities that were once hubs for innovation and manufacturing, economic recovery has remained elusive.

Here, in question, is the aforementioned report on the economic and social forces shaping Dayton, OH, a once-booming city where nearly 35 percent now live in poverty.

Gripping and powerful, the documentary chronicles the lives and struggles of Dayton's working poor as they chase the American dream in the new American economy. As Dotan and correspondent Alec MacGillis of ProPublica explore in the film, Dayton was once the epitome of industry and ingenuity in the American heartland.

The documentary shows, in cities like Dayton - where many businesses that once employed thousands of people have shut down or moved elsewhere - part-time, low-wage work rather than full-time work with benefits has often become the new normal.

And as a result, many families struggle to survive. But despite the obstacles, many Dayton citizens are taking matters into their own hands - and focusing not just on surviving, but thriving.

Although Dayton’s job market has recently seen a resurgence, the jobs coming back to the city aren’t the high-wage jobs that used be there – and the poverty rate in Dayton has reached 34.5 percent, or nearly three times the poverty rate nationwide.

From director Shimon Dotan (The Settlers), 'Left Behind America' was produced in partnership with Chasing the Dream, a multi-platform public media reporting initiative from WNET in New York that aims to provide a deeper understanding of both poverty and opportunity in American society. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.