Per­sua­sive and lib­er­at­ing

CityPress - - T# - GRETHE KOEN grethe.koen@city­press.co.za

Where to In­vade Next

Di­rec­tor: Michael Moore Michael Moore (Bowl­ing for Columbine, Sicko) is the doc­u­men­tary film maker for the masses. His style is uniquely Amer­i­can: geared to keep the ADD viewer in­ter­ested to the end with en­ter­tain­ing bits of info, hu­mour and a fair amount of gim­mickry.

Al­though doc­u­men­tary purists have crit­i­cised Moore for this ap­proach (in­clud­ing the fact that he of­ten skews the truth), his films are watched by many, which, un­for­tu­nately, is not the case for most doc­cies.

His lat­est, Where to In­vade Next, him trav­el­ling to dif­fer­ent Euro­pean na­tions (and Tu­nisia) to find so­cial sys­tems he thinks Amer­ica should adopt for it­self. The US may be the world leader in terms of cul­tural in­flu­ence, but it turns out its gov­ern­ment doesn’t treat its sees ci­ti­zens very well – not in com­par­i­son to other Euro­pean coun­tries any­way.

Moore first trav­els to Italy, where a sun­tanned cou­ple ex­plain how all Ital­ian work­ers en­joy 31 days of paid an­nual leave a year, plus ex­tra leave af­ter hav­ing a child or get­ting mar­ried. They are ab­so­lutely shocked that Amer­i­cans get an av­er­age of 15 days of leave a year, and that’s if they work for con­sid­er­ate com­pa­nies.

Over in Fin­land, pub­lic schools have learnt that do­ing away with home­work has caused their kids to be the best per­form­ers in the Euro­pean Union, while in France, obe­sity has been curbed by giv­ing chil­dren nu­tri­tional, bal­anced meals at school. All the while, I was re­minded that even though the US is not do­ing well by its ci­ti­zens, it is still do­ing much more than South Africa is.

De­spite this, Where to In­vade Next is so punchy and thor­oughly de­light­ful that it never left me mis­er­able. Moore wraps up the hard truth in a sugar coat­ing, and that might well be a crit­i­cism too – his pre­sen­ta­tion is per­sua­sive to the point of pro­pa­ganda, and one feels a fact-check might be nec­es­sary af­ter view­ing.

Ei­ther way, this is an­other Moore of­fer­ing that will get peo­ple queu­ing at cine­mas. Di­rec­tor Na­dine Cloete’s an­tic­i­pated Ac­tion Kom­man­dant, which ex­plores the story of anti-apartheid stu­dent ac­tivist Ash­ley Kriel, will pre­miere at the fes­ti­val. The film re­cently forced the Hawks to re­open the case of Kriel’s mur­der. Af­ter its first screen­ing at the V&A Nou­veau in Cape Town, Cloete will par­tic­i­pate in a Q&A ses­sion with the au­di­ence. Don’t miss it.

NA­DINE CLOETE

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