The other night I had the privilege of visiting Cinema Falls. When I first moved to my little house on the prairie 11 years ago, one thing that was seriously lacking was independent cinema. Sure we had the big time productions, but very few artsy type films came here.

I got into indie films when I lived in Salt Lake City decades ago. We had an art house theater, the Blue Mouse, which was a bright beacon of light in a dark cinematic environment. Coincidentally, it closed shortly after I moved to NJ. I also was able to attend the first few years of the Sundance Film Festival, before it got all celebrity centered and expensive. My love of art house films continued through college and beyond. 

Now, we have Cinema Falls, which presents amazing movies that I don’t think would be seen here otherwise. The most recent selection was Where to Invade Next, Michael Moore’s new movie. Disclaimer: I’m a big fan of his. I really enjoy his work. It was not exactly what I was expecting, but that’s not to say it was fantastic. 

The evening started with one of my favorite local artists performing, Burlap Wolf King. Even my Jedi enjoys his music. It set a really great, mellow vibe for the evening. 

 I got my cranberry & seltzer, settled into my seat and enjoyed the movie. The premise is pretty rad-take what is great from European countries, bring it back here & make America great (which is more pleasant than the trump platform). Education, health care, drug policy, prison reform, women’s rights, and workers rights (all issues I care deeply about) were all covered. There are some pretty innovative things happening across Europe and Northern Africa. 

There is an interview with a female journalist in Tunisia, where the Arab Spring started several years ago. It broke my heart hearing what was said. She stated that she speaks our language, wears our clothes, listens to our music, eats our food. She knows all about American culture…but what do Americans know about her culture?

The sad reality, is probably not a lot. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have traveled as much as I have. I don’t take those opportunities for granted. I’ve had a chance to see other cultures up close & personal. I’m of the personal belief everyone needs to travel as much as possible and see everything they can because it makes the world a better place. When you realize that the rest of the world loves their children, works hard to be their personal best and to get through every day, things can only get better. Travel makes the world a much smaller place, in a good way.

At the end of the movie, they are at the Berlin Wall. When it came down in 1989, it was a seminal moment in my lifetime. It was something I didn’t think would ever happen. I grew up during the Cold War, hoping that the Russians loved their children too. I’ve been there twice, once before and once after. It’s an electrifying experience. Knowing that a political philosophy was brought down by a hammer & chisel is a poignant reminder that one person can change the world. 

At the movie, the man who should have been elected as my senator, Rick Weiland, was presented with the Hammer & Chisel award from Michael Moore by the mayor of Cinema Falls. 

It was not as bombastic as other Michael Moore movies, but it gave a lot to think about. Especially in terms of education-which is a hot button issue for me, and ignored on the campaign trail. While I am biased in favor of Michael Moore, I think if non fans gave it a shot, we could have some valuable discussion. 

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