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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday September 15, 2020 

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Saturday May 19
By Jimmy Thomson

That’s 90 minutes of my life I won’t get back. The queue, as it is laughingly called in these parts, finally got us. An hour and a half waiting in the “crush” line to see the official opening of Michael Moore’s new doco Sicko, only for Johnnie-come- latelies to edge forward and time their run so they got through as the barrier opened and grabbed the last few seats. I promised myself I wouldn’t do it but I ended up shouting at the security guy in extremely bad Franglais. He looked at my badge and with a practised sneer, said: “You were late.” Serves me right. I should have got up for the early screening but there was a late night movie ... and this column ... and what IS the French for va fa in culo?


Most of the crowd outside the Palais probably weren’t even there for Sicko, a documentary about the crumbling American health care system. Later tonight, U2 are due to perform live on the red carpet. They didn’t turn up for the press conference earlier today for their new concert movie U2-3D, being stuck on a plane in Ireland at the time. There will be ugly scenes if they don’t get there tonight. I hope my security guy friend is there to tell them “you were late!”


But it was a bit sad for the roly poly Moore as he arrived to great fanfare and the sound of Bruce Springsteen (on tape) singing the anti-war anthem “Bring Them Home”. Even though you couldn’t see anything, you knew when the Bowling for Columbine director had stepped on the red carpet – all the teenage girls stopped screaming. What’s the French for “who’s the old fat guy?”

Michael was most impressive in his press conference (you can LISTEN to him explaining why he had to smuggle a backup copy of the film out of the USA). He didn’t even blink when an Egyptian journalist pronounced Sicko “psycho”. And asked how he felt about all the attacks on his documentary methods, he joked that he was thinking of sponsoring a festival of anti-Michael Moore movies. But then he became quite emotional, reminding the audience that, in his films he had warned about General Motors, gun control and the war in Iran and been proved right every time. “Maybe now I can catch a break,” he said.


Quote of the day from an Australian movie executive on the disappointment of My Blueberry Nights: “The thing about these obscure foreign language directors is that you can’t tell how banal the dialogue is when they film in their language and they can’t tell how banal it is when they film in ours.” Ouch!


Sitting having dinner in a sidewalk cafe I was shown a mobile phone video clip by a young man of himself jumping the barriers and running up the red carpet before being crash tackled by security. He then told me his dream was to be an actor. Later on a cute Italian girl with slightly cross-eyes and a tiny kink in her nose told me the same thing. My money’s on the red carpet jumper – at least he can play action roles.

U2 did turn up (albeit a little late) and played a storming three-song set before going into the gala premiere of their new 3D concert movie. They were tight, tuneful and had the crowd jumping. I reckon they’ll go far.

Wish you were here...

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Michael Moore's Sicko



A Mighty Heart, starring Angelina Jolie




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