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Fahrenheit 9/11 - Cannes world premiere



Story by: Jack Foley

CONTROVERSIAL documentary-maker, Michael Moore, has stepped up his campaign against George Bush's administration, following the world premiere of his new movie, Fahrenheit 9/11, at Cannes.

Speaking after the film was screened for the first time, the Oscar-winning film-maker told a press conference that Bush had made a total mess of world affairs, post 9/11.

"It is a such total mess. Their way of doing things has offended so many people," he said, following the well-received screening.

"We had a president who was asleep at the wheel."

Moore maintains that the film could well spell the end for the Bush administration in what is an election year, and remains frustrated and angered by Disney's refusal to release the film in his home country (even though another deal is being thrashed out to ensure it is seen).

The film is also notable for being the first, according to Moore, to feature footage of American soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners.

And for exploring alleged connections between the Bush and Bin Laden families.

Referring to the abuse, Moore said that it had 'occurred in the field - outside the prison walls', and had been caught by three undercover crews he had deliberately sent to Iraq.

"You saw, this morning, the first footage of abuse and humiliation of these Iraqi detainees," he announced, as critics began to digest the movie.

According to various online reports from Cannes, the film starts as it means to go on - in controversial fashion, with the sound of planes crashing into the World Trade Center buildings, while the screen remains dark.

It then displays the grief of victims' families, which is contrasted with President Bush sitting, apparently impassively, in a Florida schoolroom for nine minutes after hearing the news.

 

A mocking soundtrack then proceeds to show members of the bin Laden family being flown out of the US after September 11, with the song, I Gotta Get out of This Place, playing in the background.

Elsewhere, the film shows soldiers ridiculing a man covered in a blanket on the ground, calling him 'Ali Baba', in footage that was shot in Samarra, in December 2003.

According to Moore, it represents the first footage of prisoner abuse - even though he declined to comment on which military division was involved when questioned.

And he predicted that Americans would be shocked and in awe at what they see, before responding accordingly - alluding to his aim of convincing voters not to re-elect Mr Bush in November's presidential election.

Needless to say, the White House has so far declined to comment on the issue.

But Moore continued to go on the offensive, with a few choice words aimed at British Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

Crediting him with being an intelligent leader, he then asked: "What is he doing hanging out with a guy like George W. Bush? I have never understood that - it's the weirdest couple I have ever seen."

And he also accused the White House of trying to stop the film being made, and released, because it is afraid of the effect it could have on November's election.

In an article on BBC News Online, he maintains that someone 'connected to the White House' and a 'top Republican' had put pressure on film companies not to fund Fahrenheit 9/11.

But while the film was applauded in certain quarters, it has drawn fire from one of the more influential film publications.

The Hollywood Reporter described it as 'angry polemic against the president, the Bush family and the administration's foreign policy'.

It added: "There is no debate, no analysis of facts or search for historical context. Moore simply wants to blame one man and his family for the mess we are now in."

The film is due to open in the UK later this year, although a new US distributor is still being sought in time for Moore's preferred release date of July 4.

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