[Marxism] Micheal Moore in the Cuban media

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Wed Jun 2 17:27:31 MDT 2004


Micheal Moore is very popular in Cuba. His BOWLING FOR
COLUMBINE was shown at last year's Havana Film Festival.

(His adventures with the distribution of FAHRENHEIT 9/11
are regularly reported in the Cuban media as well. There
was even a special TV program devoted to Moore's work 
which I've been trying to obtain for some time. If I can
find it, I hope it will be possible to get a transcript
made for you. Now that we know FAHRENHEIT 9/11 will open
in the United States on June 25, the views of the Cuban
media should be of particular interest to readers. The
author of these two articles is a leading commentator
on movies for Cuba's GRANMA newspaper. Here are two
articles about FAHRENHEIT 9/11 and a review of Moore's
BOWLIING FOR COLUMBINE from the Cuban daily GRANMA.

(The author of these commentaries wrote one last year
about the meaning of George Orwell at his centennial:
http://www.greenleft.org.au/back/2003/545/545p22.htm

(Translated by Ana Portela for CubaNews. Thanks Ana!)
=======================================================

Granma daily, May 24, 2004
Michael Moore and His Golden Palm
By: ROLANDO PÉREZ BETANCOURT
http://www.granma.cubaweb.cu/secciones/comentarios/cultura-11.htm

The greatest ovation in the history of the Cannes Film
Festival was received by Michael Moore last Saturday when
he received the Golden Palm, the highest award of the
event. For nine minutes, with a standing ovation by an
audience cheering the director for his full length
documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11, where politics and art –
often opposing forces – go hand in hand to shout to the
world about the manipulations and lies, cooked up by a
fool, that have already cost too many lives, without, at
least, tripping them up.

The decision of a jury chaired by Quentin Tarantino, a
talented director, far from the expressive line of Moore,
those nine minutes of ovation the night of the awards,
added to the enthusiasm by the press, both the day of its
showing for the critics, as later, on the night of its
premier led to an inevitable question: What happened this
year in Cannes?

Considered the most worldly of the few A–1 category
festivals accustomed to award works of fiction with a
strong artistic element, not much interested in “the
political”, Cannes had not awarded the Golden Palm to a
full length documentary since 1956 when it was awarded to
Professor Jacque–Yves Cousteau and a very young Louis Malle
for The Silent World about the deep sea.

Forty eight years just focusing on fictions! And all of a
sudden the Festival does an about face and awards its
highest prize to Fahrenheit 9/11 in an event with film
heavy weights, manages what was missing for a long time:
the almost impossible dream of unanimity in artistic
decisions.

And with a political subject.

Is it a politicized Cannes? Being many kilometers away from
the festival it is advisable to avoid marking it, but it is
obvious that the film by Michael Moore, what he states and
the artistic resources on which it rests had an amazing
power of command in a year where other films with a
political content were seen such as Life is a Miracle by
Kustunica, about the war in Bosnia; the acclaimed
Motorcycle Diaries by Walter Salles where Che is the
central figure and a film by Sean Penn about the Nixon era.

Receiving the award, a moved Michael Moore said that the
Golden Palm would be a wonderful push to have his film seen
in the United States where the Disney House pulled out from
distribution for fear of what the White House would say in
an election year. “I am not alone – Moore stressed while he
held the award to his chest – there are millions of
Americans like me and I am like them.”

Cannes and its great prize open a first chapter for a
history that has just begun. Fahrenheit 9/11 speaks, among
other aspects, of the electoral manipulation that took Bush
to the presidency, of hidden truths after September 11, 
of the economic reasons for the invasion of Iraq (with
unpublished testimonies of a team Moore was able to
infiltrate), of the secret business dealings of the Bush
family with the Osama bin Laden family, of the evident
contradictions and lies in the speeches of the President of
the United States and the origin of the great majority of
soldiers stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq: sons of poor
families from racial minorities.

A first chapter of Fahrenheit 9/11 with many successful
artistic triumphs still to go and a question that some
chance answering: What will happen when the US public
finally gets a look at the picture?

avp
==============================================================
http://www.granma.cubaweb.cu/secciones/comentarios/cultura-02.htm

Another Slap by Michael Moore
By: ROLANDO PÉREZ BETANCOURT

On Tuesday, Cuban television broadcast images of a packed
standing audience in the Cannes Film Festival and the long
ovation of a smiling Michael Moore, after his latest film,
Fahrenheit 9/11 walked away with the highest prize. The
producer was also seen in front of the public outside
cheered by many people with one holding up a banner that
said: “Michael Moore for President of the United States.”

Cannes is considered the most glamorous of all the
international film festivals and is attending by shining
stars always followed by hundreds of photographers and
journalists, willing to talk of the quality of a film as
well as the budding romances seen in the public or the
couturiers displayed by the stars. Widespread interests not
only cover serious subjects that frivolities that nourish
the magazines of the heart. This year, however, and in
keeping with the times, Cannes has offered a spectacular
support of an artist that has nothing to do with this world
and about a subject that cannot be swept off any table.

The day before the premiere, Fahrenheit 9/11, was shown to
the press where it received general support led a
journalist to ask if the enthusiasm, the strong ovation –
aside from the quality of the film – did not hare with
Moore his aversion of President Bush and his imperialist
policy.

After viewing Fahrenheit 9/11, the keyboards flashed with
praise. Here is an example: “Moore broke up the Festival
with a two hour documentary – pamphlet–story about “George
of Arabia” who he crushes with an irresistible mixture of
irony, research and a great and intelligent power of
communication”.

Fahrenheit 9/11 is a criticism of Washington’s decision 
to go to war against Iraq after September 11, 2001. As
always, Moore did not hold his tongue and, speaking in
Cannes, accused the White House of trying to block his
film. “Fahrenheit 9/11 – he said – is the temperature at
which freedom and democracy dissolves”. Scarcely few fail
to agree with the great force of the images of Iraq with
children killed by the invaders. And, of course, the
esthetic resource is not missing that the hands of its
producer has made an indisputable truth. The contrast: From
the home of a sad family for the loss of their son “died in
combat” he jumps to a room where several business
executives talk of the investments they will make in Iraq.
And from the words of Bush promising vengeance the film
passes to revelations of the president’s family with the
family of Osama bin laden.

On the pillory, from beginning to end, Bush and his
bumbling

A few days ago, when the Disney House refused to distribute
Fahrenheit 9/11 it craftily claimed that it was to be
impartial with the coming November presidential elections.
Moore publicly accused them of a boycott and breaking a
contract. But now, in Cannes, the Oscar winner for Bowling
for Columbine, found a reason to agree with them and
explaining the tie between his art with his historical
time: “It is probable that, after seeing it, the US people
will know who they should not vote for in the elections.

avp
===============================================================

November 6, 2003
GRANMA DAILY
BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE

Premiered on Thursday the 13th in the Chaplin Theater and
140 video halls in the country.
http://www.granma.cubaweb.cu/secciones/comentarios/cultura-02a.htm

Bowling for Columbine
By: Rolando Pérez Betancourt

Bowling for Columbine is the full length documentary by
Michael Moore who has moved half of the film world, was
premiered on Thursday the 13th in the Chaplin theater and
140 video halls of the country that, perhaps, is an
excellent opportunity to learn of this important work for
what it reveals – a culture of fear in the US society – in
an original form.

Although the name of Michael Moore was already known in the
world of culture for his books and previous documentaries
that revealed the dark profiles of his society, it was with
Bowling for Columbine and the Oscar he received for the
film that interest for the filmmaker shot up for his habit
of calling a spade a spade, he has created an aesthetics of
questioning through corrosive humor. Moore’s career is
aimed at revealing the falsity of United States policy,
exposing the social absurdity where a tragic humor hides in
a country that is condemned to living.

Michael Moore, clear conscience of his society.

When Michael Moore received his Oscar – a prize he could
not be denied for the force of his work – the organizers of
the ceremony crossed their fingers foreseeing the worse in
front of the microphones. Moore did not disappoint them. 
He invited the other nominees up stage and said: “They are
here in solidarity with me because we like the non-fiction.
We like non-fiction and we live in fictitious times.
Fictitious times where we have fictitious elections that
elect fictitious presidents. We live in a time where we
have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons.”

The philosophy of Moore, presenting both his books and his
films, is not done through academic theories but an
emphasis to reveal the truth of his society applying a
simple elementary logic, realities camouflaged by many
years of manipulation and propaganda that he unravels from
the point of view of the average US citizen denying others
to rein in his vision of the world.

Moore speaks of the “swipe” of Florida in the presidential
elections, “The terrorist in Nicaragua that we paid and
trained during the eighties. Thirty thousand civilians
killed and who the hell remembers them!” And he does not
ignore that there whole armies of “orphans because of
imperial terrorism, orphans beaten on all sides – hunger,
lies, ambition for oil, contaminated water, Tomahawks – and
it should not be a surprise that they hit back when they
grow up”.

Bowling for Columbine sets off with an important question:
Why do 11,000 persons die every year victims of firearms,
an unbelievable statistic in any other country? Based on
the massacre of students in Columbine by adolescents, Moore
surveys, interviews, travels the United States and Canada
and questions, microphone in hand, until he reaches a
conclusion: For the US citizen this yearly condemnation of
being buried for absurd reasons – having fire arms – is the
ruthless and ironical condemnation of a culture of fear
that has made the population of the country to arm
themselves to the teeth. A historical tradition of violence
deeply routed in the daily psyche of many and that begins
during the first years of life of children with the
entertainment set before their eyes.

Moore’s research and editing, even resorted to cartoons,
have a surprising dynamism. His journalism stops before
nothing or no one. Confronting those who refuse to speak to
prevent being muddied, the filmmaker keeps the camera eye
up front, looking at that silence, or their evasion, the
best statement of their guilts. The interview of Charlton
Heston, at the time president of the reactionary National
Rifle Association, is a skillful of how a filmmaker is
received in his mansion thinking they will speak of far off
film glories, he is gradually stripped of his reactionary
condition until, at the end, he decides to escape and hide
in his own home.

With some physical aggression and legal accusations which
have never held because they are based on proven truths, is
a price Michael Moore has had to pay in his mission to draw
the curtains. No significant reason will prevent him from
giving us great works such as this: Bowling for Columbine.

avp







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