Fahrenheit 9/11

Just got back from seeing Fahrenheit 9/11 at a special preview. It was completely sold out. Never seen anything like it. Too late to write any more… and besides, I want to have this absentee ballot request form in the mail tomorrow.

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  1. Michael Moore’s films are skewed more than a kabob of vegetables. I have no clue why they’re called documentaries…since the definition of a documentary is “Presenting facts objectively without editorializing or inserting fictional matter, as in a book or film.”

  2. And really, why make (or watch) a documentary that doesn’t make an argument. I haven’t yet seen F 911, but what I found lacking in Bowling for Columbine was that his argument (thesis) was sort of all over the place.

    We all can find the facts; we look to the film maker to use them to tell a story from a unique perspective.

  3. That’s definitely a problem in this one too, Tricia. He occasionally goes off on little side trips that, while entertaining, don’t necessarily add to his main arguments. For example, he spends a couple minutes talking about airport security and why people aren’t allowed nail clippers but they are allowed four packs of matches and two lighters (which would have allowed the shoe bomber to blow up a plane). He posits that it’s because the big tobacco companies want people to be able to light up as soon as they get off the plane. Interesting, and a film definitely could be made about the horrible mess that is airport security. But I think the other passages about the war in Iraq are much more compelling.

  4. Yeah, I thought he tried to get too many points across in this one. Bowling for Columnbine was a bit more focused. IMHO.

  5. Hahaha… That’s the worst definition of a documentary I’ve ever seen. I spent four years studying film at university including a memorable semester of “Documentary Filmmaking” with Oscar-nominated documentary director Jil Godmilow. As I’ve said before on the site, no documentary is ever free from editorializing. If a human being chooses what footage goes in front of an audience, you’re introducing bias right there. Every documentary makes an argument. Every documentary has an agenda. Every time we watched a new one, we’d think that it had been fair and impartial til she made us analyze what the filmmaker was trying to do. They all take sides. (I’ve got a sample posted of the kind of analysis we had to do.) We watched everything from Nanook of the North (arguably the first doc) to news reports to modern avant-garde stuff. I challenge anybody out there to find me a documentary that DOESN’T have an argument in it. It just doesn’t happen.

    Sorry to rant; it’s just that this is my big pet peeve of the moment. There are a lot of things wrong with the film – it’s manipulative, it’s indulgent, it meanders a lot towards the end – but the whole “it’s not an objective documentary!” argument is not one of them. Anybody that’s actually studied film knows that the dictionary.com definition never applies. Ever.

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