Berwyn USA

Directed by : Auberi Edler

The World’s Largest Laundromat is a distillation of today’s America, a place where the country’s deep inequalities are suspended, if not but for a moment. Day after day, poor people come together in this outsized laundromat. Washing sweat and grime from their laundry, they restore a sense of dignity to their lives.

Tom Benson, the owner, is a central character. In his own way, he embodies the American dream in its purest form. The son of a carpenter, he left behind a civil servant career to become a millionaire and respected leader of this Chicago suburb through his laundromat. Tom is a generous man, but above all a shrewd businessman. From customer freebees to community donations, every decision is made to serve the bottom line. For 20 years, this business plan has been a wild success, in a community where families struggle to make ends meet.

The laundromat’s twenty-some employees, primarily women who keep the 24-hour business running, are also main characters. The customers are their next-door neighbors, leading precarious lives in run-down buildings. Many came to the U.S. from Mexico decades ago without papers and still struggle with English and basic administrative tasks. Downtown Chicago might only be a few train stations away, but, for them, it is worlds away. The women of the Laundromat are hardworking and rarely complain. Only during their short breaks do they dare share the joys, and often sorrows, that have shaped their lives in exile. In a country where many struggle to survive, it is also a place where wealthy bosses and their wage-earning employees still hold out hope for the American dream.

fiche technique

With : Raphael Bouchard, Laurent Lederer, Fabienne Sintes & Sophie Genko

Author : Auberi Edler

Photography : Auberi Edler

Co-producers : Alice Austen

Sound : Cesar Ortega & Guillermo Llaguno Oropeza

Manager of production : Corinne Cartaillac

Editing : Barbara Bascou

Original soundtrack : Alex Tran

Mixage : Gilles Benardeau

Producer : Les Films d'Ici Méditerrannée - Serge Lalou

Partners : Procirep

Langue : Français, anglais & Espagnol

Available version : Anglais & Français

Broadcaster : Arte - Fabrice Puchault

Length : 90'

Format : Vidéo 16/9

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In the same Collection


The same year