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
"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
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
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
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
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.