I had been wondering when Michael Moore would come up with another of his zany documentaries and whether he was working on one at all. I was glad to see that he was and that he did it in secret to enable him to employ his usual guerilla filmmaking tactics more effectively. It is going to be out soon. In this one, Moore ‘invades’ Europe to see how those countries differ from the US and to seize all their good ideas, rather than invade countries for their oil.
Nina Burleigh has seen an early screening and describes what it is about.
The scene switches to American TV clips of Cato Institute experts and Rush Limbaugh criticizing Europe’s crushingly high taxes. Moore puts up a graph showing that Americans do pay slightly less than the French, then lists what the French get for their money. The list goes on and on, including national health care, maternity leave, great public transportation and child care, which, when available in America, cost individuals or the public far more than the public programs in France. Moore points out that more than 59 percent of Americans’ income taxes go to the military, though.
The movie is classic Moore shtick—lots of laugh-out-loud moments threaded into serious progressive agitprop. He goes from France to Finland (three-hour school days, highest-ranked education system in the world), Slovenia (free college), Germany (ongoing national soul-searching about Nazi genocide, in contrast to what Moore sees as America’s refusal to fully acknowledge slavery), Portugal (decriminalized drugs), Norway (country club prisons built on rehabilitation principles) and finally Iceland, where women are more likely than anywhere else to run the government and corporations.
Americans who spend any time at all in Europe return to America stunned at how comparatively underserved we are for the taxes we pay. Moore’s movie reminds us that long vacations, paid leave and free health care are all considered basic building blocks of middle-class life in Europe, while in the United States, in the current political discourse, a powerful force not only resists discussion of these benefits but has actively rolled them back over the past few decades.
This looks like it supports Bernie Sanders’s ideas though of course Moore must have conceived of it a long time before Sanders announced his candidacy.
Here’s a teaser for the film.
RT America has more on the film.
Here he is interviewed about it in October during the New York Film Festival. (About the 11:00 minute mark he talks for a while about how he makes his films and that he avoids repeat takes so that the spontaneity you see is genuine and not acting.)