Aaron Russo, the producer of films like Trading Places and The Rose, promotes his new film, America: From Freedom to Fascism, which opened Friday, as having had its international premiere before a packed audience during the Cannes Film Festival.
The film was not on the program at Cannes, however, not even for screenings made under the festival's aegis without being in the awards competition. Mr. Russo, the film's director, writer and producer, just set up an inflatable screen on a beach. Photographs posted at one of Mr. Russo's Web sites depict an audience of around 50 people spread out on a platform on the sand. The guerrilla cinema screening did get Russo's film screened in Cannes, though not officially in the film festival. Nonetheless, the outdoor movie successfully gained the desired attention.
At free showings and outdoor film screenings, the film has drawn long lines of people eager to watch a documentary that feeds on the estrangement many Americans feel from their government, especially those who believe they played by the rules and yet see their finances strained or broken. Many of the reviews in major newspapers have accepted as having some factual basis the film's main contention, that the government illegally extracts income taxes, even though every court that has ever ruled on these issues has upheld the constitutionality of the income tax.
The film's appeal, Mr. Russo said during a phone interview last week, is not left or right, but concentrated among those who see the United States evolving into a police state ruled by an oligarchy that has tricked Americans into paying taxes.
Not mentioned in the film is that Mr. Russo has more than $2 million of tax liens filed against him by the Internal Revenue Service, California and New York for unpaid federal and state taxes. Mr. Russo declined to discuss the liens, saying they were not relevant to his film.
Excerpt from "Facts Refute Filmmaker's Assertions on Income Tax in вЂAmerica'" by David Cay Johnston -New York Times