While I have been known to disparage shock doc director Michael Moore’s films, I have also been quick to praise his efforts in creating a major film festival that has had a huge economic impact for my neck of the woods. Yet after watching a couple of the movies yesterday, I was reminded why I have an issue with the slogan Moore uses for the festival: “Just Good Movies.”
The implication– at least from the local interviews I have seen– is that though he is a polarizing political figure outside of Hollywood, he really just wants to celebrate quality films at the festival regardless of agenda. Now let’s see a show of hands on how many of you actually believe that? Nope, me neither.
Don’t get me wrong, There are several movies I am looking forward to seeing and reviewing for Idol Chatter (Bill Macy’s “The Deal,” Greg Kinnear’s “Flash of Genius,” the award-winning documentary “Pray the Devil Back To Hell,” “Hamlet 2,” etc.) but when there is an entire section of the festival entitled “Movies from People Who Want To Kill Us,” featuring films such as “War, Inc.,” “Body of War,” and “War, Love, God and Madness”, well, do you don’t need to be Einstein to connect the dots to the left…. right? (I would give almost anything for Crunchy Con to be in attendance here!!)
My opinion was further confirmed when one of the first movies of the festival was “Theater of War,” a dry look at playwright Bertolt Brecht, Marxism, and the Public Theater’s production of the epic war drama “Mother Courage,” performed in Central Park two summers ago with Meryl Streep starring in the title role.
In spite of a few interesting moments, the movie pretty much felt like one long piece of propaganda on why Marxism is good, capitalism is bad, and God doesn’t exist. What’s sad is that this film never gets beyond a simplistic addressing of the truth that yes, much has been done in wartime through the centuries in the name of religion, And the film never bothers to consider that while religion and war have gone hand-in-hand, mankind has done great amounts of destruction as well by not acknowledging God, but instead believing mankind is God.
I have to rush off to some more movies or I would have more to say on this film, but if you are really curious about the movie you can check out this video from its screening at the Tribeca Film Festival.