I grew up loving Israel unquestioningly.  I come from a Christian fundamentalist background, so, much the Wahabi, I believed what I was told.  It was not until I saw Paradise Now, the groundbreaking Palestinian film, that my opinions on the matter become more open.  This is a film about that happening in the life of someone famous and well respected.

Starting this March 25th, now available from Sony Pictures Classics and Participant Productions is the latest film from the mind of Jonathan Demme, director of The Silence Of The Lambs and Philadelphia.  Jimmy Carter – Man From Plains, the fascinating documentary about following around the former president, is now released.  Bring home the film examining one of the most hot button issues in America today.

Jimmy Carter – Man From Plains follows President Carter around the United States on the publicity tour for his book Palestine – Peace Not Apartheid.  Central to the film is the “mistake” Carter made in questioning Israel, something you are never supposed to do in America.  Supposedly there is supposed to be no debate about Israel – whatever they say is right and that’s how it is.  Carter goes to book signing events, meets thousands of adoring fans, and does interview after interview.  He refuses to back down from the statements he makes in the book and continues to explain how everyone fails to understand.  It is a powerful film, and the resolve and dedication of President Carter make it excellent.  The most incredible scene of the film is where he walks down the aisle of the plane he is in all the way to the back of coach and shakes hands with everyone there.  That’s what a president should be.

The special features on this DVD include bonus scenes which did not make the cut for the movie, an optional audio commentary from the director, Jonathan Demme, and a featurette on the soundtrack recording sessions, “The Music Sessions.”  Also, if you purchase this film on DVD, the package it comes in is made from 100% post-consumer recycled fiber paper which is made in a carbon neutral way during the production process.  You can be learning about how to help save the world and do a little bit about it at the same time.

I feared I would have to put a caveat on this film.  It was wonderful, but . . .   That was not the case with Man From Plains.  The movie is like spending time with your grandpa who happens to be well connected, painfully smart and overwhelmingly committed to making the world a better place.  Carter might not have been the best president, but he has more than made up for it after he lost to Morning In America.  He’s won the Nobel Peace Price, authored 21 books, worked to advance the cause of Habitat for Humanity, and been a ceaseless advocate for peace and humanity.  It is difficult to see him struggle through criticisms from people who have not read the book, protests from those who do not understand the book, and personal attacks, something Carter said he has never been subjected to before this, from the real bigots in this story.  Jimmy Carter should make all of us feel guilty that we are not doing more to change the world when he is doing so much.

Jimmy Carter reminds us all, in since we’ve been through eight painful years of forgetting, what a president of the United States can really be like.

This DVD is available at Amazon.com.

Nathaniel Jonet

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