Persuasive and liberating
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.