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Monday, June 28, 2004

Farenheit 9/11 - If you can't stand the heat...

(This entry posted by occasional RevMod guest-host, Bear)

I saw "Farenheit 9/11" yesterday with a few friends at Granville 7 Cinemas. You can tell Moore has moved into the mainstream consciousness when the friends willing to go with you aren't connected with your NDP constituency association or your labour council, and they're handing out toothpaste samples instead of manifestos on the way out.

F9/11 is easily Moore's darkest, most cynical work, and possibly his best. However, it's been picked apart by critics for one, it being a commentary rather than a documentary, and two, a lack of narrative flow. These criticisms amount to what I consider critical revisionism. Somehow, over the course of the past week, the definition of a 'documentary' has gone from a film that tells a compelling dramatic story based on real people events, to filmmaking under Oxford debating rules. As for the lack of narrative flow, was there any narrative flow in the Bush Administration's shift from Al-Qaida in Afghanistan to Saddam in Iraq? If the events don't follow in real life, how are they supposed to follow in a movie based on real life?

F9/11 is not the PowerPoint presentation that was 'The Corporation', a film which spelled out the arguments against corporatization and globalization, but did little to motivate people to act on those issues. This movie picks you up, knocks the popcorn out of your hand and grabs you by the neck to get a reaction. Except for the pair of frat boys who muttered "bullsh*t" and walked out in the middle, the audience I was with came out of the theatre either visibly angry or in tears.

Which brings me to this point - the film is emotionally manipulative, but geez, isn't it time that somebody on the left started to be emotionally manipulative? The right's been doing it since Reagan and, damit, look at the results! Progressives have always claimed to have a corner on the truth, and yes, the truth is relative. However, until we go that extra step to seriously push people's buttons with our version rather than smugly sit in the corner refusing to get our hands dirty, we're not going anywhere soon.

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