Roger & Me gets Restored

Warner Bros. is releasing  the completely restored, newly-remastered 25th anniversary edition of  Michael Moore’s, ROGER & ME.

“It’s the first time this has been done for any movie of mine, a full 4K digital restoration from my original 16mm negative. The result is a mind-blowing version that now should live on for, well, for as long as the planet lets us stick around.

In addition to supervising this restoration, I’ve recorded an all new director’s commentary track to go along with it. It’s completely uncensored and straight from the gut. I do not talk about “how I lit” the little bunny rabbit. I do name names and candidly tell you about the unlikely history of a film that should never have gotten made.

 

ROGER & ME is the movie, as many of you know, that began my career as a filmmaker. It is, shockingly, every bit as relevant today as it was when it came out in 1989. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, it foretold the systematic elimination of the American middle class and, in its wake, the so-called American Dream — the dream that promised if your hard work made your boss rich, you would be rewarded with a few simple comforts like your own home, a college education, affordable medical care, and a nice, long paid vacation.

ROGER & ME, through my telling of the story of GM and my hometown of Flint, warned that the wealthy had other plans for you in the 21st century — the crux of which was “no more sharing of the pie.” A few would still get to be rich, I predicted; the rest of the citizenry would fight over the remaining crumbs when not distracted by inflated fears of foreign threats or scary domestic events like gays marrying or a President who faked his papers at birth.

And what has happened since ROGER & ME? Well, Wall Street’s wealth multiplied three times over — while workers’ wages remained stagnant or decreased, and benefits and pensions became nothing but fond memories of a bygone era.

Twenty-five years ago I saw the beginning of this, and instead of screaming from the mountain top, I made ROGER & ME. It (along with “Do the Right Thing”) was the most acclaimed film of 1989. As one critic wrote, “It has ignited a modern-day documentary movement.” It was the first nonfiction film shown in mainstream multiplexes and shopping mall cinemas — 1,300 of them. This had never happened before with a documentary. ROGER & ME set the all-time box office record for a doc (a record that was later broken by “Bowling for Columbine” and then again by “Fahrenheit 9/11”).

Two years ago, Lincoln Center wanted to have a special night honoring ROGER & ME. They discovered — to their horror and mine — that all the existing prints of my film had been ruined by time and the elements. That set me and Warner Bros. into motion and, after the Library of Congress designated ROGER & ME a “national treasure” last December (which placed it on the federally-mandated list of films that must be preserved), Warner Bros. spent tens of thousands of dollars not just to preserve my film, but also to bring it into the digital era. The results of their restoration are nothing short of stunning.”

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