catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 6, Num 22 :: 2007.11.30 — 2007.12.14


Grant’s recommendations 11.30.07

FILM: Sicko 

Michael Moore’s newest documentary film is out on DVD and it reveals a more laid back guy than we saw in Fahrenheit 911.  Despite the film’s title image, which shows Moore pulling a surgical glove on, ready to probe to the heart of America’s medical insurance industry problem, the film-maker comes off more as a teddy bear than a lion this time.  The film simply follows up on people’s emails sent to Moore about their American health insurance nightmares.  From a guy who is forced to choose to save only one of two fingers chopped off in an accident (he chooses the cheapest one) to a middle-aged couple moving in with their children to pay off their medical debts, we see the difficulties of those without health insurance.  But Moore insists this film is about people who have health insurance in America.  Unfortunately, the results are not much better. 

Moore is still a master of manipulation with editing and narrating techniques that keep the documentary light, despite its subject matter.  Moore decides to visit Guantanamo Bay, Cuba with a group of sick 9/11 workers who can’t get treatment in America.  Using as evidence the statements of U.S. senators who claim suspected terrorists get excellent free medical service there, Moore argues it’s the only place on American soil that offers universal health care.  The film is clearly missing a few scenes here, but next thing we know the 9/11 workers are getting excellent medical treatment in Cuba.  That’s Moore’s way of sticking it to anyone who warns of the evils of socialized medicine.  Moore visits other places around the world to explore the supposed negatives of socialized medicine.  He doesn’t find any long lines in Canada and doesn’t talk with anyone who has too many bad things to say about Canada’s system.  He goes to England and is impressed by the country’s commitment to universal health-care as well.  His determination to find the place where people pay for their treatment in an English hospital becomes laughable when the cashier he finds in the basement explains that they merely give people money for their transportation costs to the hospital.  Moore’s travels to France reveal even greater anomalies from an American perspective, explaining just why the U.S. is ranked 37 out of 191 countries despite the fact that we spend twice as much for services than other nations. 

Moore does not bother to examine areas where these other countries fall short of U.S. results because, well, that’s not the point of his documentary.  He wants to put an end to the close-mindedness of American policy and encourage the people to demand better from their health care system.  There are many aspects of our current system that may prevent such a change from occurring, but for Moore change starts with awareness.  And that’s what Moore does best.


FILM: Let the Church Say Amen

Executive Producer and chair of Harvard’s Afro-American studies program Henry Louis Gates, Jr. worked with director David Petersen to make a documentary about a small inner-city church in Washington D.C.  The documentary follows a handful of church-goers at the small World Missions for Christ Church as they try to meet their goals in the shadow of the nation’s capitol building.  Poverty, street violence and educational limitations make things difficult for the members of World Missions for Christ, but the small church offers the power of Christ in their community for those who need it most.  It’s great to see a film that is told from the perspective of the people in it.  The church’s particular Christian perspective is not cast to the side of this story.  It is the story.  And the film therefore becomes a powerful testimony of Christ’s redeeming power in the lives of those who trust Him.  To read more about the documentary, check out the web site.

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