Sunday, August 15, 2004

Daily News : Shooting for change

Filmmakers rush to build
a bonfire under President Bush

Liev Schreiber and Meryl Streep in 'The Manchurian Candidate.'

When Michael Moore was making "Fahrenheit 9/11," it probably didn't occur to him that his documentary might help start a resurgence in the kind of message movies that were routine during the '60s and '70s. In George W. Bush, the firebrand filmmaker had a bigger fish to fry. But six weeks into its record-shattering run, it's apparent that "Fahrenheit 9/11" will have more impact on film culture than on who occupies the White House for the next four years.

A recent L.A. Times poll showed that few undecided voters and almost no avowed Bush supporters have seen Moore's film. And though its commercial success - $115 million and counting - has opened theater doors to a rash of equally pointed political documentaries, none of those seems likely to cross over either.

While that's bad news for filmmakers hoping to affect voter opinion before the Nov. 2 election, it might be good news for those of us who pine for the good old days of skeptical, socially minded mainstream movies - which occurred in the bad old days of Vietnam and Watergate.

(click on the title for the whole article)


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