Moore’s Film Gets a Viewing

Filmmaker Michael Moore As that kid Nelson on “The Simpsons” says, “Haw haw!” Disney sought to block its subsidiary Miramax from releasing Michael Moore’s newest film, Fahrenheit 9/11, because the Mouse House and chief Mouse Michael Eisner deemed the doc too critical of Dubya Bush. That is certainly the company’s right, and no, it isn’t censorship — Disney isn’t the gummint. But how sweet it is that people are seeing and will have the opportunity to see Moore’s cinematic look at modern-day terrorism.

The word from the Cannes Film Festival, where Fahrenheit 9/11 was screened two nights ago, is very good, according to CNN. The film and its auteur earned a 15-minute standing ovation:

You see so many movies after they’ve been hyped to heaven and they turn out to be complete crap, but this is a powerful film,” Baz Bamigboye, a film columnist for London’s Daily Mail newspaper, told The Associated Press.

“It would be a shame if Americans didn’t get to see this movie about important stuff happening in their own backyard.”

Even Moore’s skeptics seemed impressed.

“I have a problematic relationship with some of Michael Moore’s work. There’s no such job as a standup journalist,” said James Rocchi, film critic for DVD rental company Netflix.

But Rocchi said “Fahrenheit 9/11” contains powerful segments about losses on both sides of the Iraq war and the grief of American and Iraqi families.

“This film is at its best when it is most direct and speaks from the heart, when it shows lives torn apart,” Rocchi told AP.

Time also praises the film, which explores the connections between the Bush regime and the Saudi royal family. Best line from the review: “Fahrenheit 9/11 is Moore’s own War on Error.”

There is more good news, according to Movie City News: Focus Features has won US distribution rights to the film.

And what’s next for Moore after his tussle with Eisner and Disney? I have a suggestion: Michael and Me.

UPDATE – 5/24/04: It appears Movie City News was a little off. Last weekend, Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and now, Miramax honchos Bob and Harvey Weinstein are negotiating with Disney to buy the film outright (for themselves, not the studio) so that they can find a US distributor for it. Reuters reports the deal should be done in a couple of days. Let’s hope so.

And speaking of Michael Moore — he’s a talented filmmaker, but is he really a person of the people? The UK’s Guardian suggests that the answer to that question is no.

Activist Moore, in late 2002, challenged progressives not to give their votes to any lawmaker who supported the US resolution appproving the Shrub’s Iraq invasion. It was a worthy call — I took the pledge and continue to live by it. What about Moore? Surely he won’t vote Bush in November, and he’s said he won’t back Nader this go-round. Could he be supporting — gasp — John “Stay the Course” Kerry, who voted in favor of the vile resolution? Inquiring minds want to know.

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