A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

film and television
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
 

NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

FARENHEIT 9/11 (article first published : 2004-10-5)

The most talked about film of the year, after Mel Gibson's The Passion of The Christ, Michael Moore's scathing documentary labelling the US government's administration as corrupt and targetting its leader, George Bush, as an idot, makes for captivating cinema.

By turns dramatic, comic and poignant, the winner of the coveted Palme D'or at this year's Cannes Film Festival is a movie packing a mighty punch in the direction of one of the world's most influential leaders. And it provides much food for thought and discussion. It makes use of various edited television footage and is narrated by Moore, who was the winner of last year's Oscar for best documentary, for the riveting Bowling For Columbine, examining gun control in the United States.

His new documentary, which Moore plans to enter in the Best Picture category at next year's Academy Awards, opens with the US Supreme Court deciding the outcome of the 2000 American election. Bush, as we all know, is not loved by all and Moore hones in on the rampant dissatisfaction with his election by showing scenes of crowds pelting the new president's car with eggs on the day of his inauguration.

Then there are the engrossing scenes showing African-Americans, a number of them, appearing one at a time before the Senate to strongly object to the election result and demand an inquiry. However, as no Senate member has given signed approval to any one of these complaints, a pre-requisite for any such probe, these tenacious individuals are merely shooed away and asked to return to their seats, to be forgotten.

Moore then puts the focus on the Twin Towers terror attacks and mesmerises by simply showing a blank screen while we hear the planes crashing and exploding, followed by screams and the sounds of chaos and confusion. Several seconds go by before we get pictures of the horror, mostly shocked reactions from people in steets. Then there's a haunting sequence of ash falling like snow over a grey Manhattan, papers blowing and floating about like ghostly apparitions.

Even more memorable are the next scenes, which are most telling: Bush is told of the first plane slamming into the World Trade Centre as he enters a kindergarten school in Florida. But he chooses to put the problem aside so as not to miss another photo opportunity, sneers Moore in his narration.

Then, with the camera continually zooming in and out on his face showing looks of confusion, bewilderment and fear - the president is told by an aid that a second plane has hit the towers. And still Bush sits, seemingly waiting for someone to come to his rescue, tell him what to do, how to act. Moore rubs it in - Bush sat for seven long minutes doing sweet blow all, fidgetting with a children's book titled My Pet Goat.

Bush and his family's ties with the Bin Ladens are then discussed, after which the cameras turn to the Americans fighting in Iraq: those in favour and gung-ho for the experience; and those who feel betrayed and wounded, both emotionally and physically. We see wounded and killed soldiers, women and children.

Then we get to a series of interviews with a mother, and former staunch patriot, Lila Lipscomb, who is battling to face losing her son in Iraq and reads aloud the final letter he sent her. She later heads for the White House to vent her anger, her body wracked with sobs. It's moving stuff.

Moore has been accused before of having a big ego, loving the limelight by placing himself on camera to orchestrate controversy. Here, though, he doesn't need to, and restricts himself to only one scene-stealing sequence - delicious scenes in which he canvasses senators for their opinions on why they aren't encouraging their own children to go to war. Great moments.

Farenheit 9/11 has met with much controversy globally. There are those championing it, others shouting it down, including, surprisingly, many who have not even seen it. With US elections geared for November, Moore is now pushing to have his movie aired on American television soon to inspire voters to orchestrate a different outcome this time around.

He certainly wins my vote - Farenheit 9/11 is one of the most gripping documentaries I've ever seen. 9/10 Billy Suter




 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart