Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Politically driven films turning Hollywood into 'Pollywood'

Politically driven films turning Hollywood into 'Pollywood'"Pollywood" problems: On the heels of Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11," more filmmakers are now eager to use their movies to achieve political goals.

The latest case in point is David O. Russell, who's been lobbying hard for Warner Bros. to release the DVD edition of his 1999 Gulf War drama "Three Kings" (Message Board)in time to influence the presidential election. Warner, which told Russell it won't include his 35 minute antiwar documentary "Soldiers Pay" as a bonus feature on the DVD, has said it can't mount "Kings'" DVD release that quickly. The documentary looks at some of the Iraqi extras who worked with Russell on "Kings" and reportedly paints an unflattering portrait of the Bush administration.

Russell has been quoted as saying he views Warner's refusal to release the documentary on the DVD and to get the DVD into the marketplace before the November election as "censorship and an infringement of the First Amendment based on political opinions." As far as I know, he hasn't addressed the issue of why a movie studio should have to help him promulgate his political opinions. That's not to say that Russell's political views are without merit. I certainly wouldn't use this column to pass judgment on his views or on Moore's views, for that matter. But I certainly want to ask why Warner Bros. should have to help Russell express his political views? There are many ways other than making films for Russell and other filmmakers to express themselves politically -- including making speeches, doing interviews with the press, buying ads in media they believe will reach the audience they want to influence, etc.

Say what you will about Moore, he knows his business inside out and is passionate about his beliefs. By the way, let's not forget that other very passionate filmmaker, Mel Gibson, who just might wind up competing with Moore in the best picture race. With "Fahrenheit" and "The Passion of the Christ" both potential best picture nominees, the rest of Hollywood will have to campaign for awards consideration harder and more brilliantly than ever before since this year there may only be three rather than five slots up for grabs. Moreover, with "Passion" already available in DVD release and "Fahrenheit's" DVD release coming soon, neither film will suffer from the inevitable screeners crisis that other filmmakers will be faced with as this awards season heats up. "

Martin Grove
Hollywood Reporter


Post a Comment

<< Home