Michael Moore: A DVD-Phobe Picks A Few Favorites The pugnacious polemicist tells Steve Inskeep how he learned about a resurgence in Norwegian cinema, about an elaborate prank in the Czech Republic, about why he's not a big DVD fan — and about why he assumed the fetal position during a film about a Kazakh journalist.
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Michael Moore: A DVD-Phobe Picks A Few Favorites

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Michael Moore: A DVD-Phobe Picks A Few Favorites

Michael Moore: A DVD-Phobe Picks A Few Favorites

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We have some movie recommendations this morning. For our occasional series about DVDs worth checking out, our own Steve Inskeep asked filmmaker Michael Moore to share some of his favorites.

MICHAEL MOORE: Can I say something to begin with?



MOORE: I'm not a big fan of DVDs. I have to be honest. I've probably only rented, maybe a half-dozen in my lifetime. Generally, I believe you should see a movie in the movie theater.

INSKEEP: Well, now, how do you go about watching an old film then, if you want to see "It's a Wonderful Life" one more time?

MOORE: I keep a list on my computer of the various art houses and places that show old films. And I'll drive, literally, for hours to go see something from the 1940s, if I can see on a movie screen.

INSKEEP: So you've kindly sent us this list of DVDs with that caveat, or this asterisk, perhaps, on the list, that if you must watch a DVD...

MOORE: If you have to watch a DVD - and I actually I've included some that will be extremely hard to see in a movie theater. For instance, a documentary from the Czech Republic is not going to be playing at the shopping mall near you.

INSKEEP: Well, let's talk about a documentary from the Czech Republic that's on your list. "Czech Dream," what is it?

MOORE: And even though, of course, this wasn't going to open they created a whole campaign, a media campaign and they filmed the people's reactions to it and their desire to just shop, shop, shop and buy, buy, buy. And, because we're so used to living that way, to have a group of people who haven't lived that way...

INSKEEP: Clamoring to be that way.

MOORE: I wish I saw more films like this that really - that challenged me. And it was funny, which is so rare in documentaries. And I've been encouraging documentary filmmakers to use more and more humor.

INSKEEP: You also have on your list here "Borat," which sounds like a nice transition out of "Czech Dreams."


MOORE: Well, I have never laughed so hard for 90 minutes, during a movie, in my lifetime. In fact, a friend of mine who was actually sitting across the aisle, he said to me afterward, he said, I looked over at you and you had gone into a fetal position in your chair...


MOORE: ...you were laughing so hard. And now, of course, if you know me, you know for me to do the fetal position in a movie theater chair...


MOORE: Unidentified Man: All right. Well, this morning we have a very special guest here in the studio. This is Borat Sagdiyev. He is traveling across America to get the taste of life here in the United States. Good morning to you.



SACHA BARON COHEN: Unidentified Man: Thank you.


BARON COHEN: Unidentified Man: We're started. We're actually live on the air right now.

BARON COHEN: Unidentified Man: Yes.

BARON COHEN: (As Borat Sagdiyev) How are you. (Foreign language spoken)

INSKEEP: Let's remember, this is a film by Sacha Baron Cohen, right?

MOORE: That's correct. And the man's a genius. And I think that he completely, again, coming from Britain and taking a look at us, it was not just funny for funny's sake but also had, I think, some important things to say about who we are as a people.

INSKEEP: Now, you've spoken up for humor here in these last several choices, but you've also got some darker films on your list. One of them is called "Troubled Water."

MOORE: This was the best film that I saw last year. Absolutely, hands down, It's a film no one has heard of, really, and a film that didn't get distribution in this country and now has a DVD distributor.

INSKEEP: May I say this is a Norwegian film? It's from 2008 and one of the main characters is a man who has been released from prison after murdering a child? Is that correct?

MOORE: It is captivating, and I think anybody who loves to see a good movie, would love to see this film.

INSKEEP: How did you come across "Troubled Water" yourself?

MOORE: I read that there was this sort of resurgence in the Norwegian cinema.


INSKEEP: You must have looked pretty hard for that article, but go ahead.

MOORE: I was blown away - film - one after another, not just "Troubled Water." One of the best horror movies I've seen in a long time called "Dead Snow," a film about zombie Nazis. Essentially the story is that these Nazis were left behind way up in the fjords at the end of World War II and nobody came to collect them.


MOORE: And over the years turn into zombies.


MOORE: And now they're terrorizing the poor Norwegians. And it is both hilarious and scarier than anything that you've seen in a long time.

INSKEEP: Hmm. Well, I wonder what will happen when people hear that another one of your favorites for DVDs is "Hearts and Minds?"

MOORE: This film is so well constructed, so emotional, and so many great moments. I still remember, to this day, I remember the filmmakers interviewing Daniel Ellsberg who exposed "The Pentagon Papers," and he says to the cameraman, we were sent over there to fight the enemy.


DANIEL ELLSBERG: The question used to be, might it be possible that we were on the wrong side in the Vietnamese war? But we weren't on the wrong side. We are the wrong side.

MOORE: When he says that, it really hits you. It really, it's like it's hurts. But you know what? If it hurts it probably should hurt. And we need to confront these things so that we don't them again.

INSKEEP: Well, Michael Moore, it's been a pleasure speaking with you.

MOORE: Thank you very much, Steve.

MONTAGNE: This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News with Steve Inskeep. I'm Renee Montagne.

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