Where To Invade Next
Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Michael Moore returns with Where to Invade Next, sticking it to the ‘good’ ol’ US of A.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Where to Invade Next is the latest offering from acclaimed Liberal documentary filmmaker/political commentator Michael Moore. This time, the kamikaze investigator compares and contrasts the USA to everywhere else. Travelling across the world, Moore attempts to take back everything that Europe and Africa’s most prosperous countries have to offer.
After pulling apart America’s ideals and practices including gun control (Bowling For Columbine), the War on Terror (Fahrenheit 9/11), healthcare (Sicko), and the evil banks (Capitalism: A Love Story), the activist/figurehead now investigates the cold, festering corpse known as the American Dream. Ahead of the next Presidential Election, his in-depth analysis compares the country’s promises to its hunger for violence and hatred.
The documentary covers an array of countries and topics, slapping America directly in the face. His search yields many surprises, including a health-conscious public-school system in France, dreamy paid vacation/parental care conditions in Italy and improved, post-GFC banking systems in Iceland. In true Liberal fashion, Moore’s gleaming, carefree portrait of his subject matter is likely to cause backlash from the right.
Once again, Moore plays up the naïve, gullible version of himself for the camera. Donning his trademark baseball cap, scraggy hairdo, dirty jumper and baggy mom-jeans, the filmmaker lulls the audience into a false sense of security. Giving his subjects the upper hand, from likeable teaching staff throughout Scandinavia, to factory workers in Germany, and even Slovenian President Borut Pahor provide context for their country’s revelatory practices.
Where to Invade Next provides a touching, unique insight into the downfall of American civilisation and sanctity of the Western World. Moore’s message is simple: major changes – and fewer Republican crazies – could really make America great again.
Our Last Tango
Blood on the dance floor: Our Last Tango pivots its way around the highs and lows of the seemingly everlasting relationship between Argentina’s tango pioneers.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ½
Blurring the lines between documentary and romantic musical, director German Kral’s Our Last Tango is an innovative piece of cinema that explores the tumultuous love life of two of Argentina’s most dynamic dancers.
Kral presents us with two rich characters; the first is Maria Nieves Rego, a bold and flamboyant 80-year-old woman, with short, spunky hair and large, vibrant eyes that call to mind a Spanish-infused Liza Minnelli. Shimmering with raw emotion, she relates her side of the story with a ferocious sense of pride.
The other half of this passionate tale comes from 83-year-old Juan Carlos Copes. He’s a striking contrast to Maria; a seemingly quiet man, he delivers the facts of his life and their relationship with humility and a cool composure.
With two such polarising personalities, it’s not difficult to imagine the many ups and downs the couple endured over multiple decades, but alas, mutual respect and admiration for the art of tango allowed them to persevere together, for the most part.
What elevates Our Last Tango beyond a simple biographical documentary is Kral’s many inventive directorial choices, such as his use of dance as a method of storytelling. He relies heavily on beautifully shot re-enactments to transport the audience to 1950s Argentina to Maria and Juan’s earliest days together.
Kral takes this technique a step further, however, by actually showing interactions between his core subjects and the two young performers who bring them to life during the flashback scenes. We see Maria instruct the actors during their dance rehearsals, as she imparts her wisdom and experience to their looks of wide-eyed fascination to assist them in their portrayal of her and Juan. These two fresh-faced actors almost become a second pair of characters in their journey to uphold the legacy of these famed dancers.
While documentary is a genre that I do not often venture into, my personal affection for dance and Argentinean culture made Our Last Tango a breeze for me to watch, and it is one that I would recommend to any with similar interests.
Where To Invade Next & Our Last Tango are both available in Australian cinemas now
Images courtesy of Madman Entertainment & Sharmill Films