Michael Moore's new documentary film has a typically tongue-in-cheek title, Where to Invade Next. Moore decides that since the U.S.A. has a propensity for invading other countries it should do so for the right reasons. He sets off in search of countries that have things to teach the U.S.A.
Michael Moore is that rare (or perhaps unique) creature, a star documentary maker. His films (Roger and Me, Oscar-winning Bowling for Columbine, Palme d'or winning Fahrenheit 9/11, etc) tackle controversial subjects and stand up for the ordinary citizen. Despite being unashamedly left-wing and with no pretence at impartiality, Moore has gained both popularity and commercial success around the world.
His latest film, Where to Invade Next (released 14 September), features Moore "invading" various countries, Star-spangled Banner in hand, to try to learn how things are done better than in the U.S.A. in terms of healthcare, education, nutrition, etc.
The trailer gives you a taste (and a glimpse of Moore speaking French!)
Moore says the original idea for the film dates back to a Eurorailing trip around Europe as a teenager. He had a minor accident in Sweden and broke his toe. When he was treated in hospital, he was amazed that there was no system for paying, that healthcare was free. "Why don't we do that in the States?" he thought. In the film, he investigates other policies which seem amazing to Americans — that homework is illegal in Finnish schools, that French schoolchildren willingly eat vegetables at lunch, or that Italian workers get eight weeks' paid holidays — and actually take them.
It's considerably more upbeat than many of his previous films. Moore explains that he is always being criticised for being negative. For once he wanted to give a positive vision of solutions, not problems. Along the way, he ignores the problems that sit alongside the solutions in the countries he visits. But he's so earnest about his discoveries, it's hard not to forgive him the omissions.