Michael Moore is a filmmaker who sparks instant anger or appreciation whenever he’s mentioned.
The director helped make documentaries marketable when his controversial Fahrenheit 9/11 became the first non-fiction film to gross over $100 million, while his satirical style has influenced a generation of documentary filmmakers and expanded the possibilities of the medium.
However, Moore’s hard left political stance has earned him as many enemies as fans. One of the criticisms most commonly launched against Moore is that his movies are so loaded with his opinions that they can’t be considered documentaries because they lack objectivity.
It’s an unfair argument that seems to misunderstand what he does as a filmmaker. “I’ve said for a long time these are cinematic op-ed pieces,” Moore told Metro. “They’re my take on things. The facts in them are 100 per cent correct, but the opinions are mine. I may be right or I may be wrong.”
Michael Moore’s latest cinematic essay is Capitalism: A Love Story — openning next Friday — a film about America’s greed-driven corporate culture and how it led to the current economic recession. The movie combines many of the arguments against big business that Moore has made throughout his career.
“There was a point when Manifesto was a potential title,” says Moore. “I really set out to make this film with the attitude of if I weren’t able to make another film after this, what would my last film say? That was the trigger for a lot of what’s in there. It really is an extension of a lot of the things I’ve been saying for 20 years.”
Of course, a depressing movie about economics is not exactly destined to be a crowd pleaser. That’s something that Moore took to heart when making the film, knowing he would have to lighten the tone with his patented brand of satiric humour. “The risk when it came to asking the studio for money to make the film was saying, ‘I think people will come on a Friday night to see a movie that is essentially an examination of the economic system,’” said Moore. “That’s really not what you think of doing when you get home on Friday and want to escape at the movies. I had a huge challenge in front of me to try and figure out how to make this a piece of entertaining cinema that is hopefully thought-provoking as well.”