Thursday, May 12, 2016

Michael Moore's documentary 'Where to Invade Next'.

A couple of days ago I had finally the chance to watch Michael Moore's latest documentary 'Where to Invade Next'. I had wanted to see the film, because over the years I've learned to expect a lot from his documentaries.

I also wanted to see the movie, because in this film Moore manages to visit my country and pays attention to its education system.  Naturally as a Finnish citizen, I had to know what was going on and what he thought about our society.

In any case, in 'Where to Invade Next', Moore visits mostly European countries trying to figure out what these nations do better than the United States does. Moore tries to find out what Americans could  learn from their European brothers and sisters.

The documentary begins in Italy, where it seems that people have pretty much managed to figure out the meaning of life. These weird Italians seem to enjoy their work, their life, their food, their sex and  .. their holidays.

Moore wonders how it is possible that Italians get up to eight weeks of paid holidays every year. How is that possible when you consider that americans by default don't get a single paid day-off in The United States?

He manages to interview a lovely, ordinary Italian couple that globe-trots around the world every year. For them it's the most obvious thing - and the fact that people in The States don't demand these same rights scares the crap out of them.

In Italy Moore also has an interview with people who are in charge of Italian companies. For them too it's the most natural thing to take care of their employees - and that as long as their companies are profitable, making extra money isn't that important.

This same pattern of inquiry continues once Moore leaves Italy and lands in France. There he pays attention to the quality of school lunches and how different the culture is in France compared to The United States.

Not surprisingly, these lovely kids in the little town of Normandy (pic above) don't enjoy mcnuggets and pizza slices for their school meals. Instead, every day in school they enjoy healthy gourmet meals that nourish both their bodies and the souls.

It's just hilarious to watch how the kids reject the idea of consuming unhealthy american food. Moore showing these kids pictures the stuff that students consume back in The States makes them even more turned off.

Even based on these two countries, it becomes obvious that 'America' could do a lot better than it is currently doing. Clearly there's something wrong about the way things are done and that things should change.

But that's not all, since later in the documentary Moore visits other countries and shows other examples too. There's the Finnish education system, The German history curriculum and the Norwegian prison system that is based on rehabilitation.

These are all good examples that not only make you think but also make you feel. Especially the part about how Germans are taught to not forget the horrors of the Holocaust is touching and illustrates how countries can learn from their past sins.

It's not really until Moore arrives in Tunisia in Africa, when the documentary starts to get a bit too unfocused. This is when I started to get tired, lost my concentration and felt that the film should have been slightly different.

I mean, it's not that the segment about Tunisia wasn't 'important' per se, but it should probably have been made to look more like a montage, instead of the film spending ten minutes on stuff that I didn't found to be that entertaining or crucial.

Also when it came to Moore visiting Iceland - the country where its people managed to revolt, break up the banks and send their crooked executives to jail - I noticed that I didn't pay that much attention to what was going on in the film.

Nevertheless, when it comes to this documentary as a whole, even though there are certain problems with the film, these flaws at least in my opinion don't hurt it too much. Clearly the positives outweigh the negatives.

By that I mean that there's a lot of entertaining, funny and poignant stuff going on almost throughout the movie. All these good aspects make the documentary the kind of film that everyone should watch at least at some point.

At the same time, I just wish that the film had been edited a bit better and that it had had a better narrative. In that case, Michael Moore's 'Where to Invade Next' would have been a totally awesome documentary from start to finish.

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