The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Thursday, June 03, 2004

FAHRENHEIT 9/11
& a couple other docs


Just in case anybody missed it, Michael Moore's award-winning documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 will be in theaters three weeks from friday:
Film director Michael Moore's latest controversial documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11, will hit theaters throughout America on June 25, now that backers Bob and Harvey Weinstein have struck distribution deals for the Cannes Film Festival winner.

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. and IFC Films, major players for independent movies, will release Moore's film nationally to theaters. Cable network Showtime will handle sales for pay-TV. No DVD/video deal has been struck yet.

Fahrenheit 9/11 caused a firestorm of publicity in May after the Walt Disney Co. refused to allow its Miramax Films unit, run by the Weinstein brothers, to release it to theaters, claiming it was too politically charged.

Fahrenheit 9/11, which won the Palme d'Or, the top prize at Cannes, examines America's reaction to the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. It also attempts to link President Bush and his family to powerful Saudis, including the family of Osama bin Laden.

IFC Entertainment president Jonathan Sehring said his company has a mission of being a place where independent filmmakers can come to get their voices heard by a wide audience.

"This film will cause debate, but that is also what this country is founded on," Sehring said.
Here here.

I remember a couple weeks ago when the movie was first blocked actively by Disney. Various people -- on the right -- were attacking Moore for apparently manufacturing a controversy, since Disney made it clear a while ago that they had no intention of distributing the movie, which had been picked up by Mirimax, the art-house-ish subsidiary of Disney.

To them, I say "DUH".

In case you've been living under a rock, Michael Moore is a provocateur. Of course he's stirring up shit! He wanted people to pay attention to his movie, a movie he wants to use as a mechanism to help send Bush back to Connecticut, er, Crawford.

I think the Daily Show put it best when they made the point, through Lewis Black's hit-and-miss segment "Back in Black", that Moore is doing pretty much what Mel Gibson was doing in the lead up to the release of The Passion. Though Gibson often stated that his movie wasn't anti-semitic (an assessment with which I generally agree), he was also conscious that the brewing controversy over the tone of his movie regarding the Jews was raising interest in the movie precipitously. That's part of why Gibson kept certain people from seeing the movie for a time. And now Michael Moore is taking the same "any publicity is good publicity" tack as ol' Mel.

So anyway, I'm thoroughly psyched to see it when it comes out on the 25th. It's one of four documentaries I have on my to-see list. The other three are (based on recommendations from my documentary filmmaker friend Josh Braun):

--The Control Room, Jehane Noujaim's followup to the great 2001 doc Startup.com, this time exploring Al Jazeera's coverage of the Iraq war, and the light it sheds on how our media covered it.

--The Corporation, Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott and Joel Bakan's documentary on the rise of the corporation as present day's dominant institution. Features interviews with Moore, Chomsky, Howard Zinn and others, so it should be interesting.

And of course,

--Super Size Me, one man's quest to live on nothing but McDonald's for one month, and the hilarity (and medical visits) that ensue.

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