I had been reading about the return of Michael Moore for months in international newspapers announcing his participation in the Toronto Film Festival. The question arose: What would he do next?
The first time I saw Michael Moore was at the entrance to Toronto’s TIFF Lightbox Bell after the screening of Where to Invade Next, 2015. I worked at the ticket office and managed to smile at him without dying inside.
I first fell in love with this director though in 2002 after seeing Bowling for Columbine, a film that earned him the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2003. I was deeply impressed by the sarcastic and flowing tones with which he succeeded in vivisecting the most controversial themes of both American and international social structures.
So, in this long and faithful love story, yesterday came the first time I followed a Lectio magistralis of this American filmmaker. Everything happened after watching the new film, Fahrenheit 11/9, presented at the Rome Film Festival. As with Fahrenheit 9/11 – Palme d’Or Cannes 2004 – Moore has once again reaffirmed one of the essential elements on which to comment on today’s political scenario. The starting point of this new film is November 9, 2016 – the day when Donald Trump was elected 45th President of the United States of America.
It takes a while to understand the indignation and anger, and also the black humor contained in this film of the director who tries to address the descent into the underworld of American democracy. Invoking Tocqueville, he reiterates that this is always the highest aspiration of people. It moves so from the candidacy – paradoxically linked to a higher remuneration of the singer Gwen Stefani for her participation in a television program – and comes to the representation of the paradoxes present in various American realities, where the power is held by a small circle of people that are seemingly less and less attentive to the problems of the American public.
The highest point of the film is reached with the focus on the city of Flint, which in addition to being the birthplace of the director, has been the victim of an environmental disaster which has poisoned ALL children in the city (nine thousand to be exact), caused by the greed of politicians and administrators. Not even Trump’s voice grafted onto archival footage of a Hitler rally diminishes hope from the visionary mind of the American filmmaker. Hope must exist and it largely rests on the shoulders of a committed young generation that is aware of the difficulties ahead in their own futures, but above that the sacredness of their constitutional right to happiness and the will to fight for it. One name above all is that of Emma Gonzales – I invite you to search online to disassemble, once and for all, the prejudices against the generation of people known as ‘Millennials’.
The film was released in Italian theaters by Lucky Red for only three days, from October 22nd to October 24th.
I strongly urge you to support it for two reasons. The first, simplistically because cinema needs everyone. In relation to other forms of art and entertainment, a concert or a sporting event, the cinema costs very little. Ten euros is still a reasonable amount of money to support those who make their art available to the public, an art that is invaluable to our community. The second reason why I urge you to see it, you can find in the words of Moore at his meeting with the Roman public, which I hope will shake your consciences as they did mine.
“When I came here for the first time thirty years ago I ate a tomato that I’ll never forget the taste of. After growing up with hamburgers and fries, and it’s a paradox because the tomato from the United States belongs to the Native Americans but had to come to Italy to savor its flavor. What Italy can offer the world is so deep and so deep that I implore you: Remain Italy, but not as the politicians say, “Italians first”. We need you, the world needs you.”