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Barack and Michelle Obama's first film offering under their lucrative Netflix deal has fans scratching their heads. The new film from the Obamas' Higher Ground Productions company is a documentary titled American Factory.

The film will be released in select theaters on Wednesday, August 21.

American Factory is about factory workers in a small Midwestern town who experience the joys of hope and change when a shuttered GM factory is reopened. But their joy turns to despair when their Chinese bosses impose strict demands on them.

This is "reverse globalization," say Oscar-nominated directors Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert, who filmed the GM plant's closure in 2008.

The Obamas acquired "American Factory" after viewing it at the Sundance Film Festival in January.

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"Mrs Obama said it resonated with her because her father had done an intense, hardworking job for decades just to provide for his family, and she felt the Midwesterness of the film in what she saw on screen," Bognar told AFP.

"She felt her own family in the film, and I think the President felt there was a certain amount of policy issues and big broad globalization" themes in the documentary, added Reichert.

"You're getting a slice of what globalization really looks like on a human level," said Reichert, adding: "I think the film leaves you with a sense of unease."

Black Twitter users who adore the Obamas were baffled by the first offering from their production company. But others noted the factory is in Moraine, Ohio, where then-candidate Donald Trump promised jobs to laid-off blue collar workers.

Earlier this year, a GM factory in nearby Lordstown, Ohio became the latest to close its doors, sending even more laid-off workers to the unemployment lines.