What follows is a casual review of the by now infamous film Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Moore’s latest venture. Winner of the Palme D’Or at this year’s Cannes film festival, much to this dismay of Godard (although I think most of that was sour grapes), there are some good points and some not so good points about this film.
To begin with, I have to say that although this has so far been one of the most informative and groundbreaking “mainstream” (getting a big release to me qualifies as mainstream) films to be made about September 11th, it is by no means the definitive September 11th film, nor does it purport to be. There are many important issues which are either skimmed over or skipped altogether. The treatment of Arab people after the attacks, for one thing. We don’t hear about the people who were killed on American streets in retaliation for the suicide hijackings. Another unusual thing is that nowhere is the modern day concentration camp Guantanamo Bay mentioned. And while Michael Moore does an excellent job at explaining how both subsequent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were done for profit, for the oil, not for American security, he doesn’t delve into the fact that so much of the spin of these wars is from a colonialist perspective of bringing civilization to the “savages.” Nevermind the fact that Iraq is the cradle of civilization.
The other unfortunate thing is that although the film is called Fahrenheit 9/11, it really doesn’t fully explore the censorship of dissenting and critical thought after the World Trade Center was hit. There was a certain intellectual terrorism perpetuated by North Americans against North Americans when someone dared question where all this patriotism could lead us.
That all out of the way, essentially I liked the film. I talked about it with the two friends I went to see it with tonight (got a nearly sold out screening and people were lining up an hour before it started just to get seats) and while we picked at holes and brought up points that weren’t touched upon on the film, it was still a very illuminating documentary which touched both intellectual and emotional nerves in it’s audience. I think it’s important to remember that Michael’s really an All American Boy, and this film is primarily made with love for his fellow Americans. I think we also have to remember that this film is really about the Bush Administration and how it handled the crisis, how it used the crisis, and how the Americans have been flim-flammed by their government. It’s also one of the first times I’ve seen the really brutal war footage of Iraq that has the same intensity as images from Vietnam.
I’ve heard rumour that Bush is really upset about some of the war footage getting out, as well he should be. Aside from that he comes off as a buffoon, a clown, and also one of the most money hungry presidents to date. Will this hurt him in the election? Probably, as it should.
Which brings me to the end of my casual little review and to a more immediate political act all my Canadian readers should keep in mind. The election is this Monday, June 28. Go to Elections Canada website if you don’t know where your polling station is. I moved and didn’t update my registration, but I found out by calling their lovely toll free help line that I could go to the polling station in my riding with a piece of mail and my id and I would be able to vote. So go vote everybody! If you don’t vote you can’t complain! Michael Moore is pushing for the Liberals or the NDP, we don’t want Harper being buddy buddy with G. W. Bush!!!