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Thread: Fahrenheit as Film

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    Fahrenheit as Film

    Seeing as Chris Knipp is apparently incapable of starting a new thread to discuss the topics that interest him about F9/11, I thought, in an ironic twist, that I should start a thread to discuss Fahrenheit 9/11 as film. The goal of this thread should be restricted to discussing the aesthetics and craft of Fahrenheit 9/11 and, therefore, ought to stay away from discussions of the broader issues about the Bush administration, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the war on terrorism that are raised therein. Posts, e.g., could raise and interact with some of these themes:

    (1) What is the genre of this film? Moore is conventionally known as a documentary filmmaker but can this film be rightly classified as a documentary? If so, why? If not, why not and what is it?

    (2) In what ways does Moore use images and narrative to weave together his argument? Again, as a reminder, the discussion should not get sidetracked into debates on the issues in the film; the question is how are the issues explored. Of course, some subjective judgment as to whether Moore is accurate or inaccurate may be raised but only insofar as relates to the craft employed. If Moore is deceptive or if he is telling the truth, how do we know? Issues such as film as ideology, film as propaganda, film as truth, and selectivity in film are all relevant for discussion.

    (3) To what other films might Moore's documentary be compared? Or, is Moore's documentary a unique step in the history of filmmaking? Here, I'm also thinking, without prejudicing the debate, that it may be relevant to discuss other politically charged films by such directors as Griffith, Eisenstein, Riefenstahl, etc. (even if the film is not a documentary).

    (4) What are some of the aesthetic values of the film? Is Moore's use of the camera, editing, and such innovative or banal?

    (5) How does Moore's documentary stand up against other documentaries on this or related subjects? For instance, the abundance of documentaries that have aired on television or in theatres since 9/11, e.g., "Deadline Iraq", "Generation of Hate", "Generation Ex-Saddam", "Control Room", etc. etc.

    Finally, as I have not seen the movie, I'll stay out of this discussion and simply lurk to see if we get some informed and interesting posts. Who knows maybe somebody will write something that will peak my interest and I'll have to go watch this film...

    Oh, I reserve the right to pop in and comment if I think the posts are getting sidetracked... of course, as I'm not a moderator, I can't enforce my opinion but I figure it'll help to keep things focused... for Knipp's sake. Also, feel free to raise other issues that I've not mentioned as long as they conform to the parameters laid out in the first paragraph.
    Last edited by anduril; 07-10-2004 at 05:04 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Questions, good:

    Is it a documentary? Not sure what that definition is exactly. I would imagine a "true" documentary would attempt to be more objective and less opinionated. A.O. Scott of "The New York Times" says, "it might more accurately be said to resemble an editorial cartoon. Mr. Moore uses archival video images, rapid-fire editing and playful musical cues to create an exaggerated, satirical likeness of his targets." My opinion on this is that Moore has become so enraged at the complacency of the mainstream media and their willingness to swallow whatever the Bush Administration throws at them, that he feels he must present the counterargument and he must do so forcefully to wake the audience from their slumbers. A more nuanced and even-keeled film (i.e. an attempt at a "true" documentary) would not have had the same effect.

    If one of Moore's "arguments" is that we've been duped by a highly-polished p.r. campaign, then his "use of images and narratives" is primarily to present images that belie those we've seen before. We see Bush frozen in indecision for several minutes after learning about the terrorist attacks. We hear from soldiers who are confused as to what they're doing in Iraq and seem to treat their mission as if it's a video game. Also, like in Moore's other films, he spends part of the film laying out his "argument" by narrating over standard stock-footage images.

    "Is Moore deceptive or if he is telling the truth, how do we know?" Well, the same question could be asked about the information we receive from other sources. In some ways, a good documentary really succeeds when it shows that the complexities of a situation don't easily lead to a firm understanding of "the truth". Like I said, Moore presents the counterarguement to be used against what we've already seen and been told.

    Well, that's enough for now. Maybe some others will join in and work on some of the other questions.

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    Fahrenheit as film- doesn't matter

    This is yet another example of your arrogance and ignorance.

    You expect members here to discuss the film "as film" while you lurk? Why do we always have to do your legwork?
    We must "refute your 8 points", we must discuss "the film as film", we must "give examples", we must "keep things focused".

    Dear Professor: I hate your class. You won't engage us or give us the benefit of the doubt. (But who knows? Maybe you'll see our puny point- no guarantees or anything but WHO KNOWS? I may grant you a moment of lucidity...)

    If you saw the film and explained why Moore is a total utter failure in the filmmaking dept. perhaps you might have an engaging discussion.

    Don't be surprised if no one else responds, anduril.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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    Well, this is off-topic Johann... but then you knew that.

    I apologize if it comes off as arrogant; that's not my deal. My point was deal with Knipp's objections that I'd sidetracked the earlier thread. Hey, if nobody posts, that's fine with me. In fact, that wouldn't surprise me and it would confirm my opinions about the film too... I'm just trying to build bridges here with Knipp who seems awfully pissed off with me.

    I'm not here to piss people off.
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    The real problem here is that people want to discuss the issues that surround the film and I engaged those issues. Knipp told me to buzz off and lamented to high heaven about the fact that I discuss such issues instead of directly comment on the film itself. Well, first, I beg to differ; I do talk about films. I did in the Passion thread and I did in F9/11. In the latter case, you guys just want to be holier than thou and refuse to discuss it because I haven't seen it. Hey, whatever, no sweat off my back... your just a very poor advocate for film.

    But, in any case, the issues raised by a film are important in their own right. If Knipp doesn't like it, he shouldn't have engaged me in the Eve of Destruction thread. He should have started his own thread to engage the issues he wanted to talk about, which is what I attempted to do here for him. Even in his protest threads though, he tries to argue with me. But, you know, I imagine his thread would have been awfully dead. In fact, the F9/11 threads weren't very active until I posted. Hey, but if that's the way you all like to keep it then go right ahead... don't post here about the film.
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    Speaking for myself, I DO want to discuss the film.
    That's what my Eve of Destruction thread was founded on.

    How can you have a great discussion when one party hasn't seen it? It's not "holier than thou". Can't we entertain (like you) the idea that we might be swayed by an opposing view? Or is that just reserved for you, who has all the facts he needs?

    See the film and then we can begin some discussions that I know we are capable of.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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    In the meantime, I started this thread so that you, Knipp, JustaFied, Oscar, PMW, and everybody else can discuss the film. Why are you and the others being so antagonistic? Here's my position on it:

    (1) I'm not supporting Moore on this one; if I can manage to see it without paying for it then I will.
    (2) There's nothing in the film I don't already know about. I've had this confirmed by a partial script of the film available on the 'Net and, to this point, by the posts at FilmWurld.
    (3) Moore's film creates a lie. Again I've had this confirmed by a partial script of the film and by the posts at FilmWurld.
    (4) I'm interested in discussing the issues that the film covers but Knipp wants me to stay out of the Eve of Destruction thread so I've done so despite the fact that people in that thread continue to engage my points rather than the posts by Knipp and Oscar that addressed the 'film as film'--and Knipp is just as guilty as everyone else in doing it. Nearly everyone of his protest posts includes a snipe at one of my points.
    (5) Knipp's being a whiner so I created this thread in an attempt to appease him but now, it appears, you guys are going to reject the overture. At least, JustaFied made an attempt to start a discussion on the film. It's too bad people are more interested in dissin' me than they are in discussing the film.
    Last edited by anduril; 07-11-2004 at 04:30 PM.
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    I want you to explain in short or long form (no wait- short form please) what exactly this LIE is that Moore has created.

    Without seeing the film I'm afraid you are barking with ZERO BITE, amigo.

    Are you oblivious to the notion that you are not participating in a discussion of the film at all? You HAVEN'T SEEN IT. This is kinda important, man!
    Can we be blamed for "telling you to buzz off" when you don't even have memories of the film to work with? Cripes man!

    We've heard your point about the invasion of Iraq. Chris pointed out Ceaucescu, Marcos, Jong Il, and the fact that Iraq is #2 in oil reserves on the planet.

    In the film Bush is asked point blank: "What is the status of Bin Laden?"
    Bush furrows his brow, and flippantly says: "Uh, he's a marginal figure".

    Uh huh. Bin Laden is a marginal figure. Sept. 11, 2001 was a marginal day...

    Last edited by Johann; 07-11-2004 at 04:56 PM.
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    Originally posted by Johann
    I want you to explain in short or long form (no wait- short form please) what exactly this LIE is that Moore has created.
    As I pointed out in the Eve of Destruction thread, this lie starts in the opening minutes. Here's another example:
    BRIT HUME: Sorry to interrupt you; Fox News now projects George W. Bush the winner in Florida and thus it appears the winner of the Presidency of the United States.

    NARRATOR: All of a sudden the other networks said, "Hey, if Fox said it, it must be true."
    The narrator's comments here are not factual statements. This continues on and on. The narrator repeatedly interjects commentary that is meant to incite not elucidate. And then, you get cuts to scenes of Bush laughing or other such things as if Bush is laughing in mockery and contempt of the narrator's words and the success of his evil, devilish plans; talk about over the top and, amazingly, people buy it. The script reveals many of these sorts of attempts to link and juxtapose events or actions in a way that are simply not connected in that way.

    Or, back to the example I commented on in the Eve of Destruction:
    NARRATOR: A report like that might make some men jump, but as in days passed, George W. just went fishing. As the minutes went by, George Bush continued to sit in the classroom. Was he thinking, 'I've been hanging out with the wrong crowd. Which one of them screwed me? (cut to video of Rumsfeld meeting with Saddam Hussein in 1983) Was it the man my daddy's friends delivered a lot of weapons to? (cut to picture of "Taliban Leaders") Was it that group of religious fundamentalists who visited my state when I was governor? (cut to picture of the President and Saudi Royal Prince) Or was it the Saudis? Damn, it was them. I think I'd better blame it on this guy (video of Saddam Hussein smoking a cigar, dancing).'
    So, apparently Moore is a psychic. Are any of these observations factual? Its incitement and its character assassination.
    Originally posted by Johann
    Without seeing the film I'm afraid you are barking with ZERO BITE, amigo.
    That's the allegation...
    Originally posted by Johann
    Are you oblivious to the notion that you are not participating in a discussion of the film at all? You HAVEN'T SEEN IT. This is kinda important, man!
    Right now, yes. No-one. Not one person has engaged in a discussion of this film that suggests I'm at a disadvantage for not having seen the film.
    Originally posted by Johann
    Can we be blamed for "telling you to buzz off" when you don't even have memories of the film to work with? Cripes man!
    Hey, and as I've demonstrated, I'm willing to buzz off. I stopped posting in the Eve of Destruction but then rather than discussing the film, everybody, including Knipp, starts arguing with me.
    Originally posted by Johann
    [B]We've heard your point about the invasion of Iraq. Chris pointed out Ceaucescu, Marcos, Il Jong, and the fact that Iraq is #2 in oil reserves on the planet known as earth. Salient points?
    Salient points? Yes. But, in the same post, Knipp is telling me to buzz off. So, should I answer or should I buzz off?

    I'll answer Knipp's point. None of those leaders had (a) violated cease-fire agreements and certainly not to the extent that Saddam had done, (b) only one of those leaders is guilty of aggressively pursuing a WMD program, (c) none of those leaders are situated in a highly volatile region of the world (N.Korea, e.g., is bordered by highly stable, mostly democractic countries), (d) none of those leaders are in violation of UN resolutions authorizing all necessary means to effect compliance, (e) only one of those leaders has acted with similar belligerence towards the United States as that of Saddam, (f) while all these leaders have deplorable records on human rights issues, only one could really be put in the same category as Saddam, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.
    Last edited by anduril; 07-11-2004 at 05:21 PM.
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    Where's the LIE, anduril?

    You've pointed out no lies. You've pointed out Moore's opinions- which he accepts full responsibility for.
    The film is not about Moore- he's raising questions, questions which you disregard. You are taking offence at MOORE. Look at what he's saying, genius.

    Who cares if all the other news networks did as Moore said? The fact is THEY REPORTED BUSH WINNING FLORIDA. That's the issue, and that's no lie.

    Mind reader? No. He's offering us his opinion, and you're free to disagree. He's making us think. Character assassination? That's pushing it. He's fully justified: Bush told him to "find real work" in the film- you're telling a great filmmaker to find real work? Your asking for great film in return. The film is mightier than the pen!

    No one has suggested you're at a disadvantage? I'm suggesting it. If you're gonna deprive yourself of the opportunity to confirm or deny what you already know, then you better believe that you're at a disadvantage.
    I don't think you realize how true Fahrenheit rings with people. People who are for the war, against the war, neutral- this film is damn important.

    You can stay in the dark or come into the light. It's up to you. This film is revolutionary and your act of spite is really pathetic.
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  11. #11
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    Originally posted by Johann
    Where's the LIE, anduril?

    You've pointed out no lies. You've pointed out Moore's opinions- which he accepts full responsibility for.
    The film is not about Moore- he's raising questions, questions which you disregard. You are taking offence at MOORE. Look at what he's saying, genius.

    Who cares if all the other news networks did as Moore said? The fact is THEY REPORTED BUSH WINNING FLORIDA. That's the issue, and that's no lie.

    Mind reader? No. He's offering us his opinion, and you're free to disagree. He's making us think. Character assassination? That's pushing it. He's fully justified: Bush told him to "find real work" in the film- you're telling a great filmmaker to find real work? Your asking for great film in return. The film is mightier than the pen!
    The lie is in the misrepresentation, that is in Moore's opinion. To imply that FOX had influenced (1) the other networks and (2) the final election results is simply wrong. It's hocus pocus and anybody familiar with the electoral system knows it. Bush's win may be cause to lament that the presidency isn't decided by proportional representation; it may be cause to get upset with the poor voting technologies; or, the rules of the electoral system. That's all fair game. But, the fact is that Bush, by all accounts, played the political game and won. Gore admitted it and so has virtually every other constitutional scholar in the land. Complain all you want about the system but what Moore does is misrepresent what happened. That's a lie.
    Originally posted by Johann
    No one has suggested you're at a disadvantage? I'm suggesting it. If you're gonna deprive yourself of the opportunity to confirm or deny what you already know, then you better believe that you're at a disadvantage.
    Sorry... I should clarify... no one has proven I'm at a disadvantage. Suggest it... yeah, they all have.

    I won't deny myself. I just won't support Moore to do it. Y'know, people have talked about how Moore is this great patriot who just wants everybody to see the truth. Well then, now that he has made more than it ever cost him to make the movie, why doesn't he let people see it for free? If it appears on network television, I'll watch it. If he wants to make it available for free download, I'll watch it. But, I ain't paying Moore $12 just for the honor of listening to his opinion for two hours... especially when every indication is that I'll feel like I wasted not only my money but the two hours too.
    Originally posted by Johann
    I don't think you realize how true Fahrenheit rings with people. People who are for the war, against the war, neutral- this film is damn important.
    Oh, I get this. It just doesn't mean the movie is true. People are frustrated with democracy and the state of the world. They don't like their lot in life and they resent people with more money telling them how they should see the world. So, they latch on to someone like Moore who they think is just like them... but in reality he's as much, if not more in my opinion, a part of the machine and he's taking advantage of people too.
    Last edited by anduril; 07-11-2004 at 08:41 PM.
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  12. #12
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    Originally posted by anduril
    1) I'm not supporting Moore on this one; if I can manage to see it without paying for it then I will.
    Why don't you hop it? If you're not willing to contribute money to the cause, pay for another film, watch it, then see 9/11. Well, at least that's what us "rebellious hooligan teenagers" occasionally do.
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    That's an idea PMW raised and I may yet do that... I've never done it before, though...
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    As I have said, anduril won't see Fahrenheit.
    His whole belief system collapses if he does.

    Let's tally the facts:

    -Bush claims GOD himself wanted him to be President. Can't argue with that one: Jesus has approved Bush.

    -He doesn't think Bush stole the election. If he did, then his whole argument about the justification of the invasion of Iraq is utterly meaningless because we wouldn't have seen the events that have unfolded since.

    -Michael Moore's opinions. This is the root- you've admitted it. You said the lies are in his opinions. We have a winner! The lies are not in what he's saying- it's HOW he's saying it. The sad truth is you won't see the film so you DON'T KNOW HOW HE'S SAYING IT. You are speculating based on what you've heard here and bits of the script you've read online. But you won't see it, out of pure spite. The man is a patriot whether you like it or not. I'm not "jumping into bed with him"- I agree with his point. As I said in the other thread- I don't need to see it again. The film doesn't wow me as a documentary. It wows me as an op-ed piece.
    This is why I'm so indignant over your refusal to address the film in a fair manner. Praise Jesus!
    I wanna see a burning bush alright....



    P.S. Another confirmation that Bush will win in Nov: He was asked yesterday what the difference between Edwards and Cheney is.
    He said: Cheney could be President. Is he one confident, arrogant Mofo or what?
    Last edited by Johann; 07-12-2004 at 03:16 PM.
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    off topic - sorry anduril

    Originally posted by Johann
    P.S. Another confirmation that Bush will win in Nov: He was asked yesterday what the difference between Edwards and Cheney is. He said: Cheney could be President. Is he one confident, arrogant Mofo or what?
    Confident yes. But I suspect we could see a shift in Bush's VP choice if his numbers continue to drop...interesting. Cheney is an asshole, and a sick asshole. Not doing much for Bush's innocent/tough cowboy act... I think he could bring in old Colin Powell who might even say yes to the nomination if he thought it would pave his way to the White House... an interesting few months we have ahead of us, all culminating in the timely capture of Osama bin Laden. What a show it should be!!

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