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On September 23, seven Moscow cinemas screened Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 for the first time
The documentary was a sensation when it was released in the US, taking $120 million at the box office. It remains to be seen if this scandal from overseas will be a hit in Russia. At an afternoon showing in Atrium, one of Moscow's largest cinemas, the film attracted an audience of five, although crowds were flocking to adjacent screens to see Collateral starring Tom Cruise. People understand quite well that watching a documentary is not easy for the soul. Moore's film is a grandiose attempt to bring the whole institute of state authority under the control of an individual's opinion, thereby making the state accountable to public opinion. It is neither a film about President George Bush nor the Bush family's business links and the bin Ladens. It is a film about state terrorism against freedom and the individual. The film is not simply radically leftwing, but virtually Marxist. Moreover, it is Marx read first by Trotsky and then Mao. Moore does not see a single argument for the existence of American society on our planet in its present form. It is hard to think of a more radical work of derision that could expose America so passionately, particularly as today the US plays the role of a global leader and defender of democracy. Our authorities, Moore says, do not have the moral right to rule the American people and impose their total amorality and double standards on the rest of the world. His camera is both a magnifying glass focusing the sun using its rays to start a fire, and a microscope examining the development of a cancerous tumour in democracy's brain. On the morning of that tragic day when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in New York, the lover of golf, fishing and lobsters, George W. Bush, was at a school in the south of the country. He knows that the first plane has struck the skyscraper, but continues reading the children a tale about a goat. An aide rushes in and whispers in his ear that another plane has struck. America is under attack! Bush becomes gloomy, but continues the meeting, which already seems completely absurd. Moore does not depict this episode as nonsense, but as a typical display of the authorities, whose goal is not to defend Americans, but to inhumanly defend themselves. When we catch the authorities unawares, it is like catching a thief red-handed. Trying to understand the mechanism of power - any power, not only American - Moore shifts his camera to the fate of Liza Linpskow, whose son died in Iraq. This story is one of the most moving in the film. We see Liza bring the American flag out every morning and hang it on the wall of her house. She is a genuine patriot. She tries to prevent the flag from touching the ground. At first she is flattered that the famous director is shooting in her house, but with every step the camera makes the woman hysterical and she weeps reading the last letter from her late son. Why have you taken away my boy? she asks God. Finally, she comes to Washington and protests outside the White House, with its fence keeping out the terrorists, cursing the American dream and her life. Again, Moore is least of all interested in which president is sitting in that white building with its columns behind that high fence. What he shows us is the frenzy a person may fall into because of the attention of a lone camera. What can you say about someone at the centre of the world's attention? He inevitably becomes a dangerous lunatic, the embodiment of media paranoia. The endless self-indulgent preening of Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld and other key figures in front of the cameras a minute before a live broadcast is a hair-raising parade. The flutter of scissors, hairbrushes, powder compacts, slicking down hair, wetting curls, plucking a hair, concealing bags under the eyes and other gimmicks become a metaphor for deception and insanity that paralyse the highest echelons of power. America's titivating in the face of eternity (with which the film starts) produces scary results. This showing off to the world, the pathetic lies of self-admiration end in the war in Iraq, the shelling of Baghdad and the final scenes in a hospital - a panorama of injured American soldiers, without arms or legs, who in unison tell the camera: I'm already fine, now I feel fine, my fingers hurt, although I've lost both arms, but it's nothing, it'll be over, and now I am fine, I am pretty fine, and so am I... Can Moore's film be viewed as a work of art? The answer is no. It is monotonous, carelessly put together and rushed. There is too much shouting, it swings back and forth as a plane seized by terrorists, but nevertheless it inexorably hits the target - the brain of the American dream, the head of Freedom. When Kerry comes to power, I will make a film about him as well, Moore says.
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