A/V Room









Fahrenheit 9/11 - US release confirmed as reaction filters in

Story by: Jack Foley

A US distributor has finally been found for controversial documentary, Fahrenheit 9/1,1which paves the way for its release on June 25 - in time for the American elections.

A deal has been reached between movie moguls, Bob and Harvey Weinstein, and Disney, which means that the film’s director, Michael Moore, will have his wish granted, of enabling Americans to see it before they vote.

The film has already won top honours at the Cannes film festival this year, after it became only the second documentary in the event's history to be awarded the prestigious Palme d'Or.

But Moore has been locked in a furious tussle with Disney ever since he revealed, via his website, that the distributor had refused to back it, because of its notoriously anti-George Bush stance.

The film-maker has never made any secret of his contempt for the Bush administration and his documentary alleges business links between the Bush family and the family of the Saudi-born fugitive accused of masterminding the September 11 attacks, Osama Bin Laden.

The film is also said to contain the first footage of US soldiers humiliating Iraqi prisoners, and is revealed using the director’s trademark satirical style.

In order to be able to distribute the film, the Weinstein brothers have reportedly formed a new company to buy back the rights to Fahrenheit 9/11 from Disney, which owns their Miramax label.

According to a BBC report, they are believed to have paid Disney $6m - a figure they should easily recoup given the sustained level of interest in the film.

Needless to say, a triumphant Moore has expressed his gratitude, on behalf of the public figures from the Bush administration who feature heavily in his film.

"On behalf of my stellar cast - GW, Dick, Rummy, Condi and Wolfie - we thank this incredible coalition of the willing for bringing Fahrenheit 9/11 to the people," he is quoted as saying on the BBC.


US reaction so far

US reaction to the film has largely been positive thus far, although there are some who have criticised Moore as savagely as he has laid into the administration.

Leading the accolades, is Time Magazine, which declared it to be ‘a brisk and entertaining indictment of the Bush Administration’s middle East policies before and after September 11, 2001’.

While the New York Times referred to it as ‘Moore's most disciplined and powerful movie to date’.

The Washington Post went on to say that ‘what's remarkable here isn't Moore's political animosity, or ticklish wit. It's the well-argued, heartfelt power of his persuasion’.

But the Hollywood Reporter was much less impressed, stating that ‘even if one agrees with all of Moore's arguments, the film reduces decades of American foreign policy failures to a black-and-white cartoon that lays the blame on one family’.

While Variety felt that ‘the sporadically effective docu trades far more in emotional appeals than in systematically building an evidence-filled case against the president and his circle’.

The New York Post, meanwhile, wrote it off, merely, as ‘a lot of hot air’.

But back on the positives, the New York Daily News wrote that while ‘not all of this information in the film is new. But it is packaged in an entertaining and provocative way that forces nagging thoughts to the forefront’.

And the Chicago Sun-Times concluded that ‘the film doesn't go for satirical humour the way Moore's Roger & Me and Bowling for Columbine did. Moore's narration is still often sarcastic, but frequently he lets his footage speak for itself’.

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