Where to Invade Next press conference: Michael Moore on “Brexit”, Donald Trump and why he didn’t film in the UKCultureCinema
Released on Friday, the latest feature-length documentary from liberal activist and director Michael Moore, Where to Invade Next, comes at a time of enormous political significance for both the UK and his native America. The Upcoming was on hand at the film’s UK press conference to hear Moore’s insights into the inspiration behind the project, and his perspectives on the issues dominating headlines on either side of the Atlantic.
Where to Invade Next sees Moore embark on a pan-continental exploration of other nations’ policies in pursuit of cures for the multi-faceted decline of the American dream. He spoke on this recurring theme in his work: “I’ve spent 25 years pointing out what’s wrong with the USA, and most Americans get it. The rich have gotten richer, everybody else is working for less pay, less benefits. After [Moore’s previous film] Capitalism: A Love Story, I said I wasn’t going to continue making these “issue” films, because the “issue” at the core of all of them was this economic system that’s unjust, unfair and undemocratic.”
While the political approach of other European countries such as France and Finland are subject to praise within the film, the UK is conspicuous by its absence. When quizzed on this, Moore was critical, explaining that it was “a conscious and purposeful decision not to come to the UK, as we didn’t feel there was anything to be learned here. You’ve given up on yourselves to such a degree: this is a place that wants to put young adults in debt, to create a two-tier health system, to leave the European Union”.
With the press conference coming precisely two weeks before the UK heads to the polls to vote on the nation’s continued membership of the European Union, it was perhaps inevitable that the potential for an imminent “Brexit” came to somewhat dominate proceedings. While pragmatic in approach, Moore left those in attendance in no doubt of his fervent support for the Remain campaign: “I don’t think it’s my role to tell you what you should do, but from the outside, it looks strange. It’s like Texas voting to leave the United States. Why would you do this? You suffered [through WWII] to save Europe, why would you want to break it apart?”
Referring to a need for the UK’s role in the modern world to evolve in tune with the global political climate (“How odd it seems that you would want to leave Europe, but stay in Ireland.”), the director called upon voters in the forthcoming referendum to take responsibility for any perceived flaws within the EU, and in doing so to “Be Britain. Be the leaders that you have been and are”. Referendum aside, Moore was unequivocal in his support for the Leader of The Opposition, stating “I think Jeremy Corbyn is a wonderful step forward for The Labour Party”.
Of course no less crucial a date with destiny at the ballot box awaits the voting public in Moore’s homeland. On the subject of the upcoming Presidential election, he was scathing in his criticism of controversial Republican candidate Donald Trump, but careful not to dismiss the threat he poses: “There’s an excellent chance of Donald Trump becoming the next President. He knows how to manipulate a dumbed-down population whose schools have been wrecked and whose media is insipid. He supports a 21st Century version of fascism; of marrying the state and capital together to benefit the few at the expense of the many, and in doing so blaming “the other”. If Hilary went to the courthouse and changed her name to “Not Trump”, then I think we could be OK. I don’t believe the majority of Americans agree with him, but it’s about who shows up to vote. My hope is that satire could bring Trump down.”
In contrast to these fears for the future, a closing question about the legacy of outgoing President Obama allowed Moore to leave on a philosophical note: “We have our criticisms of Obama, but history will look back and record that there was a racist party that tried to stop him simply because he’s black, but now those are the dying voices, the end is near for the angry white guy being in charge.”
Video: Filippo L’Astorina
Where to Invade Next is released nationwide on 10th June 2016.
Read our review of Where to Invade Next here:
Watch the trailer for Where to Invade Next here: