In the first teaser for Michael Moore‘s new documentary “Where to Invade Next,” the filmmaker travels to other countries — not to scout those ripe for invasion, but to examine what problems they’ve fixed that the United States hasn’t.
Many believed the film would be based on America’s military misadventures around the world, but its debut at the Toronto Film Festival on Thursday revealed that the documentary is actually about other nations’ working policies. That includes eight weeks of paid vacation for workers in Italy, no-homework schooling in Finland, gourmet school lunches in France, free college tuition in Slovenia, a rehab-focused prison system in Denmark and the prosecution of those who caused the bank collapse in Iceland.
This is his first directorial turn since 2009’s “Capitalism: A Love Story.” Since then, he has executive produced films like “Occupy Los Angeles” (2012) and “10%: What Makes a Hero” (2013).
Moore pointed out in the post-screening Q&A that the film won’t quiet his most avid critics, who are sure to point out that he’s cherry-picking policies he likes in Europe, but leaves out the economic woes that have accompanied them.
“I know what the headlines are going to be like from my critics tomorrow,” he said, “but if you want to know why I didn’t mention Italy’s high unemployment rate or whatever, the reason is that I went there to pick the flowers, not the weeds.”
In its first screening anywhere, the film was greeted with repeated laughter and applause followed by an extended standing ovation afterwards. The film doesn’t have distribution yet, but will likely line up a studio soon after the positive response from critics.