Fahrenheit 11/9 (2018) ****

October 16th, 2018
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir.: Michael Moore; Documentary, USA 2018, 128′.

Michael Moore has reversed the figures of his earlier documentary feature that focused on the Twin Tower attack Fahrenheit 9/11. 11/9 refers to the date in 2016 when Donald Trump was elected as President of the Unites States of America. This latest is an in-depth analysis of Trump’s past and present but also a future devoid of democracy due to the over-whelming power of the corporations.

And the Democrats don’t get an easy ride in this incendiary examination of US politics: Moore also  rubs Hilary Clinton’s nose into the debacle: on the day before the elections, super-confident, she thanks Beyoncé/Jay Z for their appearance at her rally, and also applauds rappers, whose names she has never heard off. Next comes a reminder that Trump has always played out his corruption and scandals in plain view of the public, but always seems to get away with it. Ditto also appears to have had an inappropriate relationship with his daughter daughter Ivanka – during all stages of child and adulthood. But then again, everyone was made aware of it. Then Moore starts criticising himself: clips from his TV appearance on the Roseanne Barr Show with Trump, the latter praising “Roger & Me”. And Ivanka’s husband Jared Kushner even threw a premiere party for Moore’s “Sicko”, because he too liked it so much.

Moore then veers off to his home town of Flint, Michigan (the state Trump won by a whisker). In April 2014, Governor Rick Snyder (R), had called a “State of emergency Management”, dismissing all elected state representatives, and replacing them with his cronies, mostly from the corporate sector – without ever giving any reason for the so-called emergency. Flint got his fresh water from Lake Huron, but Snyder had ordered a new (superfluous) pipeline to be built, and during the time of the construction, water for Flint was pumped from the polluted river which gives the town its name. Thousands of, mainly black, children suffered lead-poisoning, 12 died of Legionnaires disease, but Governor Snyder insisted that the water was safe. Later President Obama visited the stricken town, tasting the water publicly, but only putting his lips to the rim of the glass. Townspeople, who had welcomed his arrival, later damaged a mural in his honour: trust in political institutions in the poorest community of the USA was gone.

Moore concludes with a call to arms, to uphold basic democracy. He also questions whether democracy really exists in the USA, or indeed whether it has ever existed in the across the country. The Snyder example in Flint shows how even the most basic of democratic rights can be circumvented: during a recent TV appearance Trump has already asked the public whether he should  do away with the 2020 election, if a majority of them is in agreement. It seems that this is already a foregone conclusion in Russia and communist China, so why not the USA? For those who don’t support Trump the outlook is grim: Just like Orwell’s Big Brother, Trump urges the people of his country not to always believe what they see and read. Slightly unwieldy, and certainly too long, Fahrenheit 11/9 is still valuable. AS


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