Description from TIFF 2009 catalog by Thom Powers:
Michael Moore has a gift for maintaining two things that people easily lose in times of crisis: perspective and a sense of humour. In 1989, American workers were reeling from Reagan-era policies that favoured the wealthy, undermined the middle class and had outright contempt for the poor. That was when Moore arrived at the Festival with his directorial debut Roger & Me, which deployed humour like a secret weapon. He won the People’s Choice Award that year and later went on to new heights as a provocateur with Bowling for Columbine, Fahrenheit 9/11 and Sicko.
It is now the twentieth anniversary of his debut, and the gap between rich and poor has only grown worse. Every day brings fresh news of layoffs, foreclosures and financial scandal. The desperate conditions in Flint, Michigan, portrayed in Roger & Me have been replicated across America. Back then, Moore’s target was General Motors. Today it’s the whole system. And he still hasn’t lost his sense of humour.
In Capitalism: A Love Story, Moore is working at the top of his game. The film explores a taboo question: what price does America pay for its love of capitalism? Years ago, that love seemed so innocent. Capitalism meant productivity and security. Now, as financial institutions run amok and families lose their savings, the American dream is looking more like a nightmare. Moore takes us into the lives of ordinary people whose worlds have been turned upside down by the economy, and goes looking for explanations in Washington, D.C., Wall Street and elsewhere. He pays careful attention to the 2008 bank bailout that occurred during the waning days of the Bush administration. Was this really the best hope for America, or just another money grab by the nation’s wealthiest?
Moore has an established knack for finding a fresh angle on familiar headlines. Even in an age of excess, he has the ability to surprise. But for all the harsh realities that he uncovers, his films have a way of empowering audiences. By drawing communities together in theatres, he reminds us that there is strength in our numbers.
About the director:
Michael Moore was born in Flint, Michigan. At eighteen years of age, he successfully ran for the local school board, and went on to edit The Flint Voice. His immensely successful debut feature documentary, Roger & Me (89), won the People’s Choice Award at the Festival. He has written bestselling books and developed such television series as TV Nation and The Awful Truth. His films include the feature Canadian Bacon (95) and the documentaries The Big One (97), Bowling for Columbine (02), Fahrenheit 9/11 (04), which won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, Sicko (07), Captain Mike Across America (a.k.a. Slacker Uprising, 07) and Capitalism: A Love Story (09).
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