Jimmy Carter: Man From Plains

Jonathan Demme’s documentary on Carter promoting his controversial book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid is as much about the American press as it is about the former president. It even helps to show why, among free presses, the U.S. press ranks only 48th in the world, according to the annual study by Reporters Without Borders. The portrait of Carter has been described as hagiography, but it isn’t a stretch to view his quiet integrity as saintly next to the track records of his successors. It’s interesting to see, when he’s interviewed successively for Israeli TV and for Al Jazeera, that he comes across as more sympathetic to the Israelis in the interview with the Arabs. My favorite moment shows Alan Dershowitz overcome by his own virtue once he decides, after checking out another Carter interview clip, not to label him an anti-Semite and a Holocaust denier. PG, 125 min. (JJ)

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