As a newly minted documentary film maker I am keen to study the work of others. I constantly add to my library of non-fiction DVDs - an expensive genre to build in. Recently I stumbled on a cache of deleted titles in a store at Brentwood Mall in Burnaby. I scooped up ten DVDs including films by Errol Morris, Patrick Creadon, Michael Wilson, Marc Levin and others. My pick of the bunch is undoubtedly MICHAEL MOORE HATES AMERICA - a Mike Wilson film. The 95 minute feature is virtually unknown in Canada... Big Surprise eh!... and more is the pity. I love discussing good cinema but couldn't find anyone who'd seen it. A young friend at SFU film school told me today that he just couldn't get past the abrasive title. But the harsh title is integral to the story, and all is explained to the viewer. Even the elder statesman of Documentary film Albert Maysles approved, and his integrity is legendary.
Michael Moore Hates America - The title is provocative, the content eye opening, and the DVD now extremely affordable: $5 at WALMART and $6 at ZELLARS in the Vancouver area (very limited supply).
What Michael Wilson did was simple enough in concept - he chose to serve Mr. Moore a generous dose of his own medicine. Wilson made a study of every trick Moore employed in BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE and then he spent over a year following Moore's trail. The process of discovery exposes a pattern of outright fraud in Moore's technique and execution, but it is done with tact, wit and humour.
Don't fixate on the title. Wilson is not on a vendetta. He does however, mount an an assault for which there is no defence - and as a result Moore's production company went into lock down while Wilson was on the streets with a camera. Neither Moore or any his staff deigned to respond to an investigation of their film making tactics.
I emailed Michael Wilson to express my appreciation for his film and told him that MOST of Michael Moore's features have been broadcast by Canada's state owned television network - the CBC. I asked if his film had ever been broadcast in Canada. The answer was that it has never been broadcast ANYWHERE. And that, boys and girls, is morality tale in itself.
Since our daughter deployed to Afghanistan our family has taken advantage of the free parcel service offered by the Canadian Forces. We sent our third "CARE PACKAGE" on Monday and are amazed that it has taken as little as twelve days for small boxes to be delivered to her at Kandahar Air Field. Damn that's efficient! I guess the term is now universal for boxes of goodies sent to loved ones, often students at university, far from home. I was reminded of the origin of the term yesterday when I was riffling through a fifty year old copy of AMAZING STORIES magazine. The old advert reads:
"CARE FOOD CRUSADE - $1.00 sends a 22-lb. Food Crusade package to the world's hungry through CARE, New York 16."
22 pounds of food delivered for a $1 donation! Today it costs one dollar & tax just to send a two page letter as far as New York!