Dueling Documentaries Keep Wal-Mart on the Screen

BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Despite its efforts to craft a more positive public image, Wal-Mart here is the target of a new, critical documentary that will premiere next month nationwide at unconventional venues: religious institutions.

The documentary, "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price," will premiere on Nov. 13 at about 1,000 churches, synagogues, and other religious sites, as its producers try to persuade Wal-Mart to change some of its business practices, according to published reports. The film includes interviews with company employees, small-business owners, and teachers, among others, who claim that Wal-Mart pays low wages and provides poor benefits.

Wal-Mart has not seen the film, a spokeswoman told USA Today.

The retailer, meanwhile, is promoting a different documentary with quite a different slant. Made by two brothers who are apparently not connected to the company, the film, "Why Wal-Mart Works: And Why That Makes Some People C-r-a-z-y," portrays the chain in a positive light, and highlights how the company has benefited families. It is due out Nov. 15 on DVD at major retailers, the film's producers said.
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