Film review, by Maysa Moncao, of the latest Michael Moore documentary, which has just had its world premier at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF 15).
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Director: Michael Moore.
I once did an exercise about how I establish my social relationships that turned out to be very revealing. I divided my working day into two periods: in the morning I would have to say “yes” for everyone; in the afternoon, I would say “no”. Well, it was very difficult for me to simply rush into the elevator and not wait for my colleague’s tender request to hold on for a minute in the lift at 9 am, as well as being a punishment having to accept a horrible coffee with two other people I had no identification with after lunch. I found out that there are people I naturally tend to say “yes” to and people I naturally tend to say “no” to.
Although I have my reservations on the way Michael Moore understands what a documentary is, because he definitely takes one side and tends to convince you about his opinion, I am usually more into saying “yes” to him. Where To Invade Next is no exception. He filmed abroad without drawing attention from American media and maybe it was for the same reason he chose Toronto for the world premiere. The festival is still going on (writing on: Friday 18 September) and the film was seen by 6000 people already.
No doubt he understands the art of provocation. He is the American version of Jafar Panahi.
With his typical humour, Moore drives into this new kind of veritè road movie “invading” foreign countries and “stealing” the best ideas, in order to reintroduce them back in America. So he goes to Italy and discusses stress at work and how many holidays employees are allowed to have per year. He goes to Portugal and investigates how the police and the State fought the war on drugs. Moore also travelled to Norway, a country where there was a massacre in 2011 known as Norway’s worst nightmare, in order to document prisoner’s reabilitation.
The dialogues of Moore’s interviewees all over the world are revelatory and cleverly funny, or better saying, ironic about the United States’ long history of invading countries. Everybody has an opinion on the American way of life, based most often in knowledge and experience, as everybody is exposed to American values and culture at a very high level. But the opposite does not occur. And here come the clash and prejudice. Ignorance is the main source of war and hate.
We all know that it is not as simple as Moore makes us believe. But he took the first step. He is dosing the eye drops into his audience. After the blur effect of the following hours from the screening of Where To Invade Next, when everything seems bigger than it is for real, you slowly begin to see better.
PS…Maysa Moncao posed a question for this blog and Moore himself responded, along with a few others. See the debate.
See the official trailer on Youtube.
WHERE TO INVADE NEXT
USA, DOCUMENTARY, 2015, 110 MIN
DIRECTOR: MICHAEL MOORE
WITH MICHAEL MOORE
ABOUT THE FILMMAKER: Born in Flint, Michigan, Moore worked as a journalist before turning into documentary filmmaking. His “Farenheit 9/11” won the Palm d’Or in Cannes. He is also famous for “Roger & Me” and “Bowling for Columbine”..