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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
The film's Director's Statement by its director Jonathan Demme reads: "I have always held President Carter [Jimmy Carter] in high esteem, so I leapt at the opportunity to do a documentary portrait of him. I chose the book tour of Palestine Peace Not Apartheid as the backbone of the documentary before reading the book. I knew that with the kind of subject matter promised by the title, there would probably be a lot of fireworks on that journey. I love how his un-self-censored behavior and attitudes help reveal how authentic and deep President Carter's faith-based motivation really is - and how terrifically complicated he is as a human being, with such an active sense of humor, an encyclopedic knowledge of a seeming endless array of subjects - and how super-sensitive yet bold, feisty and obstinate he can be at times - and that he reveals how a devoted, adoring husband like him fits so organically with the fellow who "loves the ladies." Every time I see this film, President Carter makes me believe that - as frightening and appalling as so many things are in the world today - that there is nevertheless a very real possibility for peace and better lives for future generations if we strive to somehow get along and if we aspire to defining the upside of being human." See more »
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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