The director Michael Moore has revealed that Quentin Tarantino only voted after watching the documentary Fahrenheit 9/11. Speaking at the Toronto film festival – where his new film, Where To Invade Next, is the subject of a bidding war – Moore said Tarantino approached him at a celebratory supper in Cannes, where the jury Tarantino chaired had awarded Moore’s movie the Palme d’Or in 2004.
“He said: ‘I have not only never voted, I’ve never even registered,’” recalled Moore. “‘But when I get back to LA I’m voting from now on.’ I said: ‘That is a bigger reward than the Palme d’Or. Because if you said that then 10 million other people [who see the movie] will.’”
The film-maker went on to look back to the start of his career, when Roger and Me, his breakthrough 1989 film, was dismissed by the Oscars voting committee 10 minutes into a screening. “I took a lot of heat from the old guard,” he said, “for inventing a new genre of documentary.”
His influence on non-fiction film had, he agreed, been substantial, but Moore also expressed surprise comedy was still so infrequently employed by his peers. “Why don’t documentaries use more humour? I think they feel that it trivialises the subject matter. But people need to relax and laugh so they can process the information.”
Moore attacked what he felt to be an excess level of hype surrounding today’s film industry, saying: “I’m tired of the noise machine in this business.” He said he hadn’t been on a TV show since 2013, and had adopted a policy that he would only do so when he didn’t have a product to plug. That George Clooney had felt the need to apologise for similar behaviour on Stephen Colbert’s first Daily Show the previous week was, said Moore, a far cry from the time talent would simply turn up on chatshows ad hoc.
Moore’s new film shows him touring Europe, ostensibly for ideas about more progressive legislation which the US could adopt. He had been especially inspired by the greater gender equality he perceived in other countries, he said. “We’re so far away from that in the US. And the real effect is that if women are at the table, things are just going to get better. What kind of guy wouldn’t want that?”
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