Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 opens in Franceto captive audience

7th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 7 (AFP) - "Fahrenheit 9/11", Michael Moore's film bashing US President George W. Bush and the Iraq war, started its march around the world Wednesday by opening in cinemas across France - where not surprisingly its box office success looks guaranteed.

PARIS, June 7 (AFP) - "Fahrenheit 9/11", Michael Moore's film bashing US President George W. Bush and the Iraq war, started its march around the world Wednesday by opening in cinemas across France - where not surprisingly its box office success looks guaranteed.

The impact the film made when it was seen by the first audience outside North America could be judged by the splash it made in the media - most of France's national newspapers gave it front-page play, while radio and television broadcasts gave it significant airtime.

"Le film anti-Bush" was the epithet almost all outlets gave the award-winning documentary, which is already on track for blockbuster status in the United States, where it has been screened since June 25.

"Moore's Scud has hit the bull's-eye," the left-leaning Le Parisien said.

Another left-wing paper, Liberation, put a big picture of Moore on its cover with his plea "We have to get rid of Bush" and devoted two full inside pages to an interview with the US director and an editorial.

France's warm welcome for the movie was two-fold.

"Farenheit 9/11" was the winner of the Palme d'Or, the top prize at this year's Cannes film festival on the French Riviera, whose international jury was led by US director Quentin Tarantino.

But it is also confirmation of what many French people believe about the US president and his invasion of Iraq, which was deeply opposed by French President Jacques Chirac and the overwhelming majority in his country.

There was a murmur of approval in one of the public premieres in Paris when a letter from Moore was read out, in which he again made clear he hoped his film would lead to Bush's defeat in the US presidential election in November.

Moore apologised in his letter for not making it to the Paris screenings, as he had originally hoped, explaining that the runaway success of "Fahrenheit" in the United States had made him a very busy man.

But, he added jokingly, "if we fail in this mission (to oust Bush), I'll be coming over there for good".

Cinema-goers who scrambled to get into one of the packed screenings applauded, laughed and sat stunned as the movie spelled out Moore's views that Bush was an incapable dolt whose family has an overly cosy relationship with rich Saudis.

Amused head-shaking and a sort of collective smugness punctuated the film's two hours, with the issues and images presented being carried off into city cafes afterwards for heated discussions.

"It was devastating but it only confirmed what I already knew," Annie Simon, a 49-year-old flight attendant, told AFP.

She said she thought the documentary would likely to divide French viewers along generational lines.

"The older ones think only good of America for what it did in 1945 but that's only the older generation. The younger ones don't think like that any more," she said.

A 31-year-old computer programmer who gave his first name as Gaetan, said the film gave him a "big dollop of information" that also hardened his antipathy towards Bush.

His 21-year-old girlfriend, Axelle, said the result was a "damning picture" of Bush and what had happened to the United States since the attacks of September 11, 2001.

It was not only Parisians who warmed to Moore's anti-Bush message.

A group of six Americans stood outside one cinema holding a banner reading: "Americans in Paris for Regime Change at Home".

"I expect this film will wake people up," said one of them, retired UNESCO official Tom Forstenzer.

At the exit to one cinema, another American living in France yelled out to any compatriots who may have seen the film to register to vote for the US election in November.

"Any American who travels or lives abroad is not going to vote for George Bush," US financial executive Robert Findling explained.

"They have too much respect and love for other countries."

 

© AFP

 

Subject: French news

 

0 Comments To This Article