Late in 2006, President Jimmy Carter tours the U.S. promoting his provocative "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid." Demme's camera follows Carter from city to city, home to Plains (population 635), visiting a Habitat for Humanity site in New Orleans, and talking on radio and TV with Teri Gross, Charlie Rose, Diane Rehm, Jay Leno, Larry King, Wolf Blitzer, Tavis Smiley, and Al Jazeera and Israeli pundits, discussing Palestine's plight and the policies of Israel. Critics speak as well. Between events, Carter talks about Camp David, recent travels, being married, speaking Spanish, and wisdom he learned from Rachel Clark, his nanny. A montage of speeches, awards, and travels ends the film. Written by
Jonathan Demme makes a misstep in this documentary with the former president. I believe that Jimmy Carter's advocacy of peace is sincere. But this film in support of the controversial book does nothing to advocate his position nor incite any discussion.
Demme's film leaves us with no legacy or message. We simply aren't provided enough content to understand the former president's position. Over two hours was spent watching Carter enter and exit limousines and hotel rooms. More time is spent watching Cater sign books than explaining the controversial Palestinian policies.
Former Vice President, Al Gore, made complex facts simple and digestible in his film. Unfortunately, President Carter made a complex situation and the associated politics even more distant. Carter and Demme, both articulate men, did not get a message across. Don't waste your time.
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