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October 18, 2017

Michael Moore’s Newest Love Child

As one of the most commercially successful documentary filmmakers in history, Michael Moore once again finds himself the subject of inquiry following the release of his most recent collection of criticism on America, “Capitalism: A Love Story.” 

Thirsting for answers to the questions on the minds of the majority, Moore sets out to uncover the reasons behind the financial crisis that has remained an issue in the United States since 2007. “Capitalism” captures Moore’s efforts to understand the origin of the financial crisis and the collapse of the “American Dream.” 

This film, currently playing at the Amherst Cinema, will be presented as part of a special event on Wednesday, Oct. 6, which includes an introduction to the film and a discussion after the showing, both hosted by Class Action, a non-profit organization aimed at eliminating classism from the world. Classism is defined as the assignment of ability and worth based on the system of social classes.

Class Action’s mission is to rid the world of classism, a change that would, among other things, reduce “vast differences in income, wealth and access to resources,” according to the group’s website. Class Action “provides training, strategies and resources to explore class and dismantle classism.” The organization works towards its goal of a world without classism by working with various philanthropic institutions and places of higher education, including the Five Colleges and helping individuals develop an awareness of classism by hosting workshops and discussions open to the public.   

Class Action was officially incorporated as a non-profit organization in July 2004. Its founders, Jennifer Ladd and Felice Yeskel, began holding workshops and forums to bring awareness to classism in 2001, hosting events open to the public in Western Massachusetts. 

Moore’s films have generally been the subject of much controversy. Moore introduced himself to the documentary world with his film “Roger & Me” In 1989, which documented the effects of General Motors closing down their Flint, Michigan factories and how the change affected Moore’s hometown of Flint. Moore’s second documentary, “Bowling for Columbine,” examined the student shooting that occurred on April 20, 1999 at Columbine High School in Columbine, Co. and the gun control laws in America. Moore was the subject of much criticism and scrutiny following the release of this film, with a large portion of the public labeling the film as nothing more than propaganda.

In “Fahrenheit 9/11,” Moore investigates the actions of the Bush administration following the attack on the World Trade Centers in New York City in 2001. Like his previous film, this generated a lot of controversy, causing some to label the project as more propaganda. Moore responded to these claims by publishing a credible list of facts and sources he used to create the film. Moore’s 2007 documentary, “SiCKO,” takes a look at the American healthcare system and compares it to those of other countries, such as Canada, France and the United Kingdom. Controversy followed the release of this film too, with the Treasury Department investigating Moore’s trip to Cuba during the making of the film, and whether or not the trip violated the U.S. embargo against Cuba. Moore responded by citing that trips made for the sake of journalism are not in violation of the embargo, and do not require authorization by the State Department.

“Capitalism: A Love Story” is sure to raise many questions and generate a lot of discussion amongst the audience following the film. 

The showing and discussion of “Capitalism: A Love Story” will be on Wednesday, Oct. 6 at 7:15 p.m. at Amherst Cinema, located at 28 Amity Street.

Steven Baum can be reached at sbaum@student.umass.edu.

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