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Moore gets kicks from critics

'Sicko' filmmaker discusses press reactions

Despite the fond Cannes reception for “Sicko,” Michael Moore told Variety editor-in-chief Peter Bart that he feels sapped by his critics’ relentless attacks.

“People say I’m the propagandist, but I’m the one voice marching against the lies that are put on the American public,” he said during a conversation held at AmPav. “How much longer am I going to be doing this? Taking shit for it, and then having people say three years later, ‘Hmm, maybe he was right’? I’m a human being having to go through this and I don’t enjoy it.”

In the 30-minute discussion, Bart covered a range of topics, covering the “Fahrenheit 9/11” phenom through the government’s inadvertent publicity efforts via a probe of Moore’s trip to Cuba, which is depicted in “Sicko.”

One question he posed seemed to faze the usually unfazeable Moore. Bart asked about the release of “Sicko” on June 29, likely in 1,500 to 1,800 locations, double the launch scope of “Fahrenheit.”

Reasoning that many critics and auds in Cannes –“including some of our hard-boiled reporters” — found the film unexpectedly emotional, Bart asked, “Shouldn’t it have some time to build?”

Moore shifted a bit in his seat. “Now you’re scaring me,” he said. He went on to reason that, as a “moviegoer” and not a distributor, he saw the film as a viable alternative to Hollywood megapics such as “Live Free or Die Hard” and “Ratatouille,” which open opposite “Sicko.”

He amended the comment, somewhat surprisingly, to exclude “Talladega Nights,” which he hailed as “the funniest movie I saw last year.”

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