Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Michael Moore/I could go to jail

Michael Moore: 'I Could Go to Jail'

"Very much applauded, Moore's film won't fail to prove divisive. . His
detractors will again be irritated by the shortcuts he takes, and his
tendency toward demagoguery, sentimentalism and bias."

By Rafael Wolf

Translated By Pascaline Jay

May 19, 2007

Switzerland - Le Matin - Original Article (French)
The provocative filmmaker presented his new movie on the Croisette [the
main
street at Cannes]. Not in competition at Cannes , "Sicko" targets the
American health-care system.

Three years after winning the Palme d'Or [the Golden Palm] with
"Fahrenheit
9/11," Michael Moore was back in Cannes with his new film Sicko.
Presented
outside of the competition, this blistering attack on private insurance
companies and the American health care system holds up the Canadian,
British, French and even Cuban health care systems as infinitely
superior
models. Very much applauded, the film won't fail to prove divisive. On
one
side, fans of the director will exploit the certitude and devastating
humor
of a film that champions the restoration of free medical care and which
is
against a corrupt private system. And on the other, Moore's detractors
will
again be irritated by the shortcuts he takes, and his tendency toward
demagoguery, sentimentalism and bias.

PROBLEMS OVER CUBA

Still, as Michael Moore explained at a press conference in Cannes, the
debate that the filmmaker wants to raise might happen without him.

"Ten days ago I received a certified letter from the Bush Administration
telling me that I was under investigation for violating the U.S. law
that
inhibits trade or travel to Cuba."

This affair arises due to the final segment of Sicko, in which Moore
tries
to help some of the heroes of September 11 receive medical treatment at
the
U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay . After being turned away, he takes them
to a
Cuban hospital, which is found to be much more welcoming than the
American.

"Our lawyers say that the movie could be confiscated. I have until
Tuesday
to answer the government's letter. But no matter what happens, nothing
will
prevent Sicko from being released in America, on June 29th. I'm the one
who
risks going to jail, and I take this matter very seriously. I know the
storm
awaits me back in the United States."

Well known for never being at a loss for words - or his camera - Michael
Moore hopes that "Sicko" will be a force for change: "We are one of the
richest countries in the world. And yet, more than 50 million Americans
lack health insurance. And I haven't seen any presidential candidate
propose
a system of universal medical coverage for the country. Insurance
companies
offer the least possible care to their clients - in other words their
patients - to satisfy their shareholders. This is perfectly immoral. We
are
the last Western country to change on this issue. But I believe that
change
is in the wind in the United States."

All the same, some journalists will dare to question Michael Moore's
idealized conception of foreign systems of health care. Indeed in Sicko,
the
French social security system is described as an absolute paradise
without
funding difficulties. Others reproach Moore for never allowing those he
denounces to speak.

"I didn't want to listen to those who disagree with me," the director
says
in his own defense. "I wanted to show my own point of view. I've been
making
this film for two and a half years. I am tired of all the yelling and
screaming and not getting anywhere. I'm the victim of much rejection and
hate at the moment."

FED-UP

Particularly furious, Moore took advantage of the occasion to respond on
the
subject:

"People attack me by saying that what I say isn't true. But I would hope
by
now, especially as I begin to enter the discourse with this new film,
that I
could catch a break. That somebody will at some point say, 'you know,
OK,
maybe we don't like the way this guy looks, but he warned us about
General
Motors, he warned us about the school shootings, he warned us about Bush
and
the reasons for this war and we didn't listen. It is my profound hope
that
people will listen this time with this film, because I don't want to
wait
ten or twenty years before we have universal health coverage in America
and
I don't want to wait ten or twenty years before we as Americans take a
look
into our soul - so that we can become better citizens of this world."

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