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25.6.04

Fahrenheit 9/11

Thanks, Chuck! It is my pleasure to bring to you a few thoughts on what was without a doubt the hottest ticket in Washington tonight - the opening of Fahrenheit 9/11, the new film by documentary filmmaker and fellow Michiganian Michael Moore. Fahrenheit 911 Poster After finding the film SOLD OUT in theatres all across Washington, I finally was able to get a ticket to the last show of the evening in Shirlington.

For those of you living under a rock, Moore's controversial film was the winner of the prestigious Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival this year for Best Picture. In the film, Moore reveals the hidden truth behind the events of the last four years - President Bush's connection to Saudi oil money and the Bin Laden family, the "Campaign of Fear" that has been waged against the American public by the administration after 9/11 and a sobering look at the truth behind the war in Iraq.

I found the film both powerful and gripping. While critics often chastise Moore for being "over the top," I found Fahrenheit 9/11 to be well researched, with Moore backing up his accusations with strong evidence and poignant interviews. For me, there were two very powerful moments of the film. The first, is the blank screen Moore uses as a backdrop to retell of the events of the morning of 9/11. Sitting frozen in our seats, the audience is left with only the audio of the destruction of the twin towers. The effect was both psychologically gripping and eerie.

The second, was the chain of interviews that Moore strings throughout the film with Lila Lipscomb, mother of a young serviceman from Flint, Michigan. Fahrenheit 911 Sold Out We follow Lila throughout the film, first in her avid support of the troops and her reality as a lower-income American who encourages both of her children to join the military in order that they may one day go to college. As followers of Moore's films know, Lila is a conduit for highlighting the injustice that Moore sees in our world. At the end of the film we learn that Lila's son has died in the crash of a black hawk helicopter in Iraq. His death coincides with the arrival of his final letter - a scathing epistle chastising President Bush for our unjustified military action in Iraq and the hopelessness he felt as a soldier. Not a dry eye was left in the theatre.

While Moore's film was tough to take at times, in a way it is even harder to leave the theatre realizing that WE ARE STILL LIVING THIS REALITY! In typical Michael Moore fashion, the film is also sprinkled with good humor and apt music to ensure that the audience can leave the theatre being able to laugh through their tears.

While many will criticize Moore's film for being unsympathetic to our Commander in Chief in this time of war, I commend him for exercising his First Amendment rights. It is with films such as Fahrenheit 9/11 that I can say "Bravo" to Mr. Moore. Few filmmakers are as courageous as Michael Moore and few of us have the guts to turn off Fox News and take two hours to listen to another point of view. Well, maybe after this film some more of us can.

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