Friday, October 2, 2015
NY Film Festival 2015: Where To Invade Next: Benevolent Capitalism, A Love Story
It's clear that Michael Moore makes documentaries foremost, to inspire social change. But apparently criticism from a highly conservative American public regarding his blue collar class warfare approach in movies like Roger & Me, and advocating the benefits of socialism in Capitalism: A Love Story and praise for the Cuban health care system in Sicko, have taken their ideological toll on the filmmaker. And subsequently seemingly more interested in the powers of persuasion than truth.
Moore remains adamantly in opposition to the inequality, injustice and oppression so endemic to US society as detailed in Where To Invade Next. But in his determination to raise the resistant collective consciousness in this country, the chosen method to his particular ideological madness is as misleading as the title of his latest documentary - which has little to do with US invasion and occupation around the planet.
LISTEN TO THE 'WHERE TO INVADE NEXT' NYFF PRESS CONFERENCE HERE
Instead, in a playful bait and switching about of conventional approaches to the criticism of US policies that are the basis of investigative documentaries, Moore sets out to metaphorically invade countries in order to steal, not their resources, but their ideas and policies that might improve the dismal socio-political state of affairs here. In other words, a sort of contemporary quest for the proverbial holy grail. But excuse me, Europe as the utopia of choice?
Clearly in evasive cherry picking mode, Moore selects only positive examples of superior quality of life situations overseas. Including far more appetizing public school lunches in France, better working conditions and longer employee vacations in Italy, free higher education in Slovenia, an economy cleansed of corruption because women have become in charge as bankers in Iceland, and anti-war, anti-Nazi Holocaust remorse as a compulsory subject in German schools.
Well, just a minute. Benevolent capitalists in Europe? Don't tell that to the millions of masses on the continent currently suffering and demonstrating against joblessness, poverty, homelessness - and yes, suicide as a result of the drastic measures there known as austerity. And supposedly better societies because they're not warmongers like the US? Isn't that widespread adversity endured by the masses related to engaging in all those Middle Eastern wars over there, in league with the US through NATO coalition offenses?
And what about those cautionary history lessons in German schools. Well, they seem to exist simultaneously with a rising tide of fascism and anti-Muslim, anti-immigration racism among the youth as well there today, and across Moore's fantastical entire Euro-Disney theme park continent he seems to have crafted. And women as potential progressive saviors of a world ruined by men? Sure, if you don't examine the record too closely of say, Margaret Thatcher for starters. Or the many right wing Tea Party type women in politics here, ranging from Palin and Bachman to Fiorina, and including Coulter and all the news actresses at Murdoch's Fox television.
Then there's Moore's distortion of history, as he extols free higher education in Slovenia as somehow a novel idea floating around. Apparently distancing himself as much as possible from any notion of socialism which might heap criticism upon his approval-obsessed agenda, Moore seems to have 'forgotten' that free education, health care, shelter and guaranteed employment for everyone, were cornerstones of the socialist principles of the USSR - which happened to include Slovenia before the 'benevolent' capitalist overthrow of the Soviet Union. Moore then goes on to mock what he deems the indifference and passivity of American youth - while pretending the Occupy Movement and Black Lives Matter have never existed.
Well, why bother with those pesky facts, when your primary objective is a feelgood film for the frustrated US population back home. Karl Marx once said that it's not enough to be right, you have to be convincing. Apparently Michael Moore embraces the latter notion in his film, with far too faulty fact checking regarding the former.
More information about the NY Film Festival 2015 is online at: Filmlinc.org/nyff2015
Arts Express, Thursdays 2pm ET: Airing on WBAI Radio in NY 99.5 FM, and streaming live and archived everywhere at wbai.org.