's "Fahrenheit 9/11" premiered at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival
. Its first screening earned a 20-minute standing ovation, said by some to be the longest ever at the French festival. Fahrenheit 9/11 paints a deeply sinister conspiracy linking the war in Iraq to Bush's family's business relations with the defense industry and Saudi oil money
. It also draws a connection between the Bush clan
and members of Osama bin Laden
's family. It also explores the US government
's hurry to commit military forces to conflicts in Iraq
as part of the vague, seemingly endless "war on terror
" which has hurt not only Bush's presidency but America's credibility overseas as well.
Moore, speaking at a press conference at Cannes, said that "something needs to be done" about the Bush presidency and added he hopes to make a difference with this documentary. "The fish rots from the head down", he said. Included in the film is footage of Bush meeting with a group of school children on the morning of the September 11 terrorist attacks and sitting in complete silence for nearly 9 minutes after hearing passenger jets had slammed into the World Trade Center. Moore also visits Congressmen on Capitol Hill and asks them if they would be willing to send their own sons and daughters to Iraq.
Previewing the movie, Moore said, "You will see things you have never seen before. Half the movie was about Iraq — we were able to get film crews embedded with American troops without them knowing that it was Michael Moore." The two-hour film also contains harrowing scenes of prisoner abuse and night-time surprise raids on Iraqi civilian homes. Moore, who also published two bestsellers that were aimed at "exposing" Bush, also shows footage of US soldiers expressing disillusionment with the war.
Disney subsidiary Miramax has been prevented from releasing the film in the United States, but currently Miramax bosses Bob and Harvey Weinstein are hoping to buy it back and release it through alternate distributors. Moore hopes to have it in theaters on July 4th 2004 and on DVD in time for the November 2004 presidential elections. Moore vowed that Americans would see the documentary soon, even if it took illegal means.
On hearing that Disney planned to block the film from release under pressure from the White House and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Democrats in Washington were seen to rush to Moore's defense, with cries of censorship. Moore came back with a reply that Democrats should not be too hasty to defend the film until they've seen it, as it also contains numerous attacks against the Democrat party (Moore is a spokesman for and registered voter with the Green Party, past Presidential candidates of which have included consumer advocate Ralph Nader, a onetime employer of Moore).
Asked by film critic Roger Ebert if he would make a film about Disney (Ebert suggested "Michael and Me" as a title, a reference to Moore's first film "Roger and Me" and Disney chairman Michael Eisner), Moore responded, "I might. It's dangerous to let someone like me peek behind the curtain."
Sources: Muslim American News, Google News, Chicago Sun-Times, "Stupid White Men" (book by Michael Moore), Singapore Today.