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World Premiere of "The Entrepreneur" (aka "Malcolm & Me")

On December 10, 7x7 and the SF Arts Fund cohosted the world premiere of a documentary called The Entrepreneur, the story of Malcolm Bricklin—the man who brought both the Yugo and the Subaru to America—as seen through his four-year quest (ultimately thwarted) to introduce a stylish, low-cost Chinese car called the Chery to the US market.

Sounds a bit dry, doesn’t it? And maybe it might have been, if a) the subject hadn’t been the very model of a modern American dreamer and b) if the filmmakers hadn’t included Malcolm’s son Jonathan, from, as Bricklin said in his pre-screening remarks, “my third marriage.” (Jonathan then corrected him: “Um, second wife, Malcolm.”)

As a result, the film is fascinating, and hilarious. In some ways, it’s the inverse of Michael Moore’s classic Roger & Me: instead of tracking the doldrums of a great American company, it follows a man trying to launch the next generation of cars. And Jonathan didn’t have to stalk his quarry: Malcolm Bricklin insisted that the crew have total access to anything they wanted to shoot. Twelve hundred hours of footage later, we’ve got The Entrepreneur.

One interesting postscript: The next day, a local blogger posted an interview in which Bricklin tells him that he (Bricklin) had that day been offered—and had turned down—the post of Obama’s “car czar”…