A short while ago Edith and I went to a special preview of Michael Moore’s latest film, Capitalism. It’s not my intent to discuss the film, although it deserves my saying that, although Capitalism suffers from many of the same journalistic flaws as his earlier films, it is redeemed by being more clearly personal: I think it conveyed a sense of mild desperation, that he is fed up with the way things have been going in this country. Mr. Moore was there to introduce the film and for Q&A afterwards, and in his opening remarks to the Q&A period, he said forcefully, "I refuse to live in a country like this. And I’m not leaving." Powerful. Edith talks about it more in her blog, here. But that wasn’t my point.
Before the film started, we were admonished in the usual way at such events not to take pictures of the film or try to make a bootleg video, because it is illegal and there are people with special equipment who will Catch you. Every time we hear this standardized speech I am reminded of the premier a few years ago of Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride at the Toronto Film Festival, where it was gloriously different. The festival is pretty tightly scheduled, and for whatever reason this showing started a little late. Whether it was because of the time pressure, Inspiration, or both, when the festival representative came out to introduce the film, as part of his remarks he said (I quote roughly from memory), "This is the premier of this film. We’ve all heard the legal spiel about not taking pictures. So I’ll just say this: Don’t do it. It would be wrong." The audience applauded, and not because it was the short form, but because his statement got to the essence of the matter: it would be wrong. It was one of those wonderful moments where just for an instant a real sense of shared value transcended a random collection of strangers. I’ll remember it a for long time.