Fahrenheit 9/11 written and directed by Michael Moore, produced by Moore, Kathleen Glynn and Jim Czarnecki, with Moore, George W. Bush. 112 minutes. A Dog Eat Dog/Miramax Films production. An Alliance Atlantis release. Opens Friday (June 25). For review, venues and times, see Movie Times. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
Riding the whirlwind of his post-Palme d'Or victory at Cannes for Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Moore is in full interview mode late Friday afternoon. He's one of those rare people who like to talk so much that they become more voluble as the day goes on. I'm sharing my interview with a writer from Canadian Press who asks Moore if he thinks that "bona fide" journalists are going to go after Fahrenheit 9/11 the way they did Bowling For Columbine.
"Bona fide journalists?" Read that line with a dose of heavy sarcastic tone. "Bona fide journalists are not impartial. They were cheerleaders for the war and failed the people by not doing their jobs. They didn't ask the hard questions.
"They'll come after me because people are going to see this movie and ask, 'Why didn't I see this on the news?' My film is the journalism that journalists should be doing."
Fahrenheit 9/11 is a more straightforward film than Moore's Academy Award-winning documentary Bowling For Columbine, and more directly a piece of reportage on the links between the Bush and bin Laden families. It also shows how the current administration was looking for a reason to go to war with Iraq.
Wearing its politics on its sleeve, the film runs the risk of preaching to the choir.
"I want to preach to the choir," counters Moore. "The choir in America are the people who don't vote. They're young, they're poor, they're black, they're single mothers and working-class people who have sunk into despair and cynicism. Look at the numbers. It's not the rich who don't vote.
"Iraq is a distraction. The administration knows that their good friends the Saudi royal family are less and less able to control their own country, so taking Iraq gives the U.S. access to the second-biggest oil fields in the world.
"They wanted a war with Iraq. Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld had been planning this since 1997. [See the Project for the New American Century, www.newamericancentury.org/statementofprinciples.htm.] Richard Clarke (head of counterterrorism for both the Clinton and Bush administrations) said it: when he went in with the information about al Qaeda on September 11, all they wanted to hear was Iraq."
In the current American political climate, with its overheated rhetoric, Michael Moore may be the most hated man in America. The very sight of him seems to drive the more rabid members of the right wing to a fine frothing fury. I have to ask Moore why he thinks he's so hated.
"It's an almost Hillary-like hatred, isn't it? They hate me because they perceive how effective my films are. Unlike most of the left, I reach a broad audience, so the right fears that. They know it's dangerous to them."
For more on Fahrenheit 9/11, see our Cannes coverage