Posts Tagged ‘‘Sicko’’

Mark Kermode’s Review of Michael Moore’s ‘Fahrenheit 11/9’

November 4, 2018

Michael Moore is the ‘capped crusader’, the left-wing American film-maker responsible for a string of powerful documentaries, from his first film, Michael and Me, to Fahrenheit 9/11 about the War on Terror, Bowling for Columbine about the Columbine High School massacre, Sicko, on the pitfalls of America’s private healthcare system and Capitalism: A Love Story, which is very definitely not a celebration of American private enterprise. His latest film, which was released a few weeks ago, is Fahrenheit 11/9 about the rise of Donald Trump. Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo are the film critics on BBC Radio 5. Here Kermode gives his view on Moore’s movie.

He begins by explaining that the title refers to the date on which Trump won the presidential and his opponent, Hillary Clinton, conceded defeat. It’s also a reference to his earlier film, Fahrenheit 9/11, and to Ray Bradbury’s SF classic, Fahrenheit 451, the temperature at which paper burns. Fahrenheit 9/11 became the highest grossing documentary film and won the Palme D’Or at Cannes. Kermode has his own reservations about Moore, in particular the grandstanding and stunts he plays in his movies. The film examines how the fruitcake, to use Kermode’s substitute term, we got to this point. Trump announced his intention to run for the Whitehouse because he was sick of Gwen Stefani earning more than him. Then his candidacy was taken seriously, and he got elected. In addition to talking about Trump himself, Moore also discusses his own peculiar relationship with Trump and his aides. He was given assistance with his earlier films by Bannon and Kushner, and met Trump himself on the Tonight Show. Trump said that he liked Michael and Me, but hoped Moore wouldn’t make a film about him. Moore actually went easy on him during that interview, because he’d been told to.

Moore also uses the film to criticize what he sees are the failings in the Democrats. They didn’t take Trump seriously. He talks specifically about the disgusting state of the water supply in Flint, Michigan, and how Obama, as he sees it, did nothing about it. This has led to the current crisis, where people are alienated from politics because they see everyone as part of the elite.

He does, however, see change coming from young people, who are refusing to put up with this. Kermode plays a clip from the film in which he talks to Michael Hepburn, a young Black Democratic candidate for Florida. Hepburn explains that the problem is the lack of will and backbone from the Democrats, and the fact that they’re taking money from the same sources as the Republicans. He states that the Democratic party should be recruiting extraordinary ordinary Americans, who get on the same bus as their constituents. Who have kids in the same public schools, and so know what it’s like when the teachers don’t get paid a real salary or lack resources.

A young woman explains that the definition of electoral insanity is electing the same guys over and over again and expecting things to be any different.

This is followed by a clip of a news programme explaining that for the first time, the Democrats in Michigan will have an all-female ticket. He talks to Rashida Talib, who is poised to become the first Muslim woman in Congress. She says ‘We are not ready to give up on the party, just ready to take it over and put some people in there that get it.’
‘Take it over?’ Moore asks.
‘Take it over, Michael. Take it over,’ she replies.

Kermode also says that the strongest voices are those of schoolchildren, including one piece where they talk about the revolution that is going on through social media. He finds it refreshing that someone is talking about social media in a positive way. He still finds Moore a problematic figure, and that the film doesn’t really ‘wrestle the problem to the ground’. However, it does offer a glimmer of hope through young people. This is what happens when people feel disenfranchised, and a younger generation who are fed up with not being represented. He goes on to say that there is a certain repetition of themes, because they’re close to Moore’s heart. He also says that he feels that Moore is sincere about this film. He says it’s impossible to say what impact the film will have. It’s nothing like the scale of Fahrenheit 9/11. He also believes the best film about Trump was You’ve Been Trumped, made long before the Orange Buffoon came to power and which was about him and the golf courses in Scotland. But it’s a sincere work, with less of the ‘stunty stuff’ which Kermode doesn’t like.

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Michael Moore Interviews Tony Benn – from the Documentary ‘Sicko’

March 23, 2014

I found this clip of America’s Capped Crusader Michael Moore interviewing Tony Benn about the NHS on Youtube. It’s from Moore’s movie, Sicko, where he laid into America’s private health care system. Benn points out that it came from the experience of having no unemployment during the War. After the War, according to Benn, people began to wonder why there should be any unemployment in peace time either, when people could be employed building hospitals. Moore wonders that the NHS was built as far back as 1948, and expresses his admiration for the way the British all pulled together to build it. Benn states very clearly how popular the NHS is, to the point where even Thatcher had to say that it would be safe in the Tories’ hands. When Moore asks him what would have happened if Blair had tried to privatise it, Benn finishes for him by saying that ‘there would have been a revolution’.

As for the current growth in debt, Benn makes it clear that he believed it was part of a deliberate policy to keep people down. You do this by keeping them afraid and demoralised. He was convinced that there were people who did not want a happy, confident workforce, because happy, confident people cannot be kept in line.

As for democracy, Benn states that it is the most revolutionary concept, far more so than socialism or any other idea, because it means that those in power have to do what the people want.

Moore is a highly controversial film-maker, and some of what he says when interviewing opposing Right-wing politicians and celebrities is very carefully edited to present a false picture. Nevertheless, the overall point he makes are usually sound, even if sometime he can also be somewhat infuriating on particular issues that he knows little about. Here he’s absolutely correct, and it shows you why American Conservatives hate him with a passion. It also shows you what a brilliant politician we had and lost in Tony Benn. RIP, big man.

As for the privatisation of the NHS causing a revolution – it would, and that’s why it’s being done piecemeal. And there should be a great campaign of mass protests and demonstrations against it and the other attacks the Tories are perpetuating every day on the poor, the weak and the powerless. The Tories in privatising the NHS and attacking the poor and weak the Tories and Tory Democrats have shown that they do not deserve your vote, and should be forced out at the next election.

Here’s the video:

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It’s at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LnY-jy_cE0 on Youtube.