Michael Moore got a standing ovation after a screening of his documentary "Where to Invade Next" at the Hamptons International Film Festival on Saturday night.
"You are the second audience of Americans to see this," he said before the screening at Guild Hall in East Hampton. "We showed this at the New York Film Festival, and you're No. 2."
"Where to Invade Next," which seems unlikely to endear Moore to conservatives, is a travelogue through Europe showing that other countries have better answers to the problems of education, health care, drugs, incarceration and employee benefits than we do. The film shows Moore "invading" each culture and conducting interviews with working-class Italians who have eight weeks of paid vacation; students in Finland, a world leader in education, who have no homework; and inmates at cushy, unlocked jails in Norway, which has an extremely low recidivism rate.
One female Icelandic CEO chides Americans for their looking-out-for-number-one mentality. "You don't treat your fellow Americans well," she says. "How can you come home and feel OK about that?"
Moore predicted that his film would draw accusations of socialism. "We have socialism, too," he said. "Social Security, Medicare, the GI Bill. We're big believers in socialism. And we have huge socialism for the rich."
He also acknowledged that his film overlooks the countries' other social ills. "I wanted to pick the flowers, not the weeds," he said. "These countries have huge problems, but that's for their documentary filmmakers."
Before the screening, Moore noted that it took him four hours to get to the Hamptons from New York City. Long Island, he said, is "such a generic name, but it's one of the most honest names ever for a geographic location. I would just add an -est."
One audience member ribbed Moore by suggesting, "As a man of the people, next time take the train."
Moore will sit for a live interview Sunday at the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor.
>>>Sent from my iPhone