The word America provokes a wide range of emotions, but rarely indifference, especially on the streets of Europe. The forms of anti-Americanism are proliferating and its magnitude is on the rise. But are hostile feelings toward the United States based on what America is or what it does? Why so much anger, hatred and disgust? Why such fear and fascination?
The filmmakers, two Kansas natives, take the viewer on an unscripted journey, revealing opinions about America, its people, politics and culture. From London, Paris, Belgrade, Athens and Istanbul, “America Non Grata” captures close-up reactions from French philosophers, Turkish corporate bosses, anti-globalization Greek leftists, London imams, passionate Serbian students, and many others.
Through impromptu street interviews and conversations with provocative intellectuals, this documentary takes a fresh look at how America, under President Bush, is perceived in European cities, whose multinational citizens also reflect opinions from far beyond Europe’s borders. “America Non Grata” touches on many topics: American cultural influence, imperialism, wild conspiracy theories, inconsistencies of U.S. foreign policy, reactions to 9/11, Middle East politics, terrorism, hegemonic power and more. It uncovers a startling diversity of viewpoints ranging from mildly amusing to deeply troubling.
This documentary does not seek to present a single point of view, but rather to educate the audience about the striking range and depth of sentiments –hate, love, irony, awe, disgust and envy—the world feels towards America. At times these emotions are derived from the world of concrete facts, and at other times from the realm of propaganda and fantasy. The film reveals a significant divergence between the attitudes of the person on the street and the intelligentsia, and it exposes the often irrational nature of anti-Americanism. Through unfiltered voices and opinions not often heard in the U.S., “America Non Grata” provides the viewers with raw insight into how this country is regarded.