Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://une.intersearch.com.au/unejspui/handle/1959.11/532
Title: Problems in 'Political' Documentary: Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11
Contributor(s): Williamson, DG  (author)
Publication Date: 2006
Handle Link: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/532
Abstract: The controversy over Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) reflects anumber of unresolved issues about the film's form and function as a 'political' documentary. Many supporters see the film as a courageous documentary exposing the lie that America's invasion of Iraq was necessary because Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. They welcome its depiction of the consequences of his actions for American soldiers, their families, the Iraqi people, and the cause of democracy generally. From this viewpoint, the film is empowering; it strikes a blow for free speech by counteracting the bias of mainstream media that have supported Bush's deceptive rhetoric.Detractors have argued that the film is poorly researched, bends factsand recycles conspiracy theories about Bush's rise to power and the war in Iraq. They say that it uses cheap editing tricks to distort the words and actions of those it criticises, and exploits the loss and despair of marginalised people to whom it merely appears to give a voice. On this view, the film is propaganda: it damages the cause of democratic debate that it purports to serve, encouraging easy, emotive responses and discouraging more rational consideration of events and their causes.The paper argues that to understand this controversy and the notion ofempowerment that Fahrenheit 9/11 represents, it is necessary to consider two interrelated processes at work in the construction of the film. The film appropriates documentary forms in a way that enables it to synthesise a range of sources for representing the post 9/11 situation that Moore addresses. However, it uses the documentary forms in a way that reduces their ability to gain a purchase on the complex political realities with which it attempts to deal critically. The overall effect is that the film offers a morelimited framework for understanding urgent political issues than Moore and advocates of the film acknowledge.
Publication Type: Conference Publication
Conference Name: Australia & New Zealand Communication Association International Conference 2006: Empowerment, Creativity and Innovation: Challenging Media and Communication in the 21st Century, The University of Adelaide, South Australia, 4-7/7/2006
Conference Details: Australia & New Zealand Communication Association International Conference 2006: Empowerment, Creativity and Innovation: Challenging Media and Communication in the 21st Century, The University of Adelaide, South Australia, 4-7/7/2006
Source of Publication: Empowerment, Creativity and Innovation: Challenging Media and Communication in the 21st Century, p. 1-12
Publisher: Australia & New Zealand Communication Association and the University of Adelaide
Place of Publication: Adelaide
Field of Research (FOR): 190299 Film, Television and Digital Media not elsewhere classified
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: E1 Refereed Scholarly Conference Publication
Other Links: http://www.anzca.net/conference.htm
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Appears in Collections:Conference Publication

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