Friday, June 22, 2007


Eugene Jarecki, the documentary director whose Sundance-winning Why We Fight is one of the most important films of the decade, had this to say about his fellow doc-maker, Michael Moore, last week:

"Love him or hate him, Michael Moore is a national treasure. He is so because America prides itself on speaking its mind, on confrontation and candor, and being unafraid to confront the powerful. That’s what we did in the Revolution... we confronted the powerful, and I think anyone who puts himself in the line of fire as Michael Moore does, to confront the most powerful issues and political actors and economic actors of our time, is going to win the hearts of the American people."

Jarecki was waxing about Moore because Moore's new film, Sicko, is out (or imminent). It's the baseball-capped Michigander's essayistic take on the American health care industry, a screed against corporate greed and selfishness, and a plea for free, universal health coverage. At the end, in a voice-over, Moore's urges his viewers to get involved, to initiate change, for America to become a society where we is more important than me.

"If we correct that we’ll be able to fix a lot of things," Moore said in a phone interview this week. "And what I was saying at the end of the film is that I’m willing to take the first step by holding my hand out across the great political divide, and help someone out in need who does not share my political viewpoints -- and, in fact, who attacks me constantly."

Jarecki applauds Moore's activist approach: "He causes people, particularly young people, to understand, whether you agree with him or not, that it is hip to think about the world you live in. It’s hip to think politically, and that engagement is the heart and soul of being a citizen of this world. And that disengagement is a recipe for the demise of this world.

"That’s a huge message that Michael Moore sends simply by getting out of bed in the morning and causing so much trouble."


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