Film does good despite controversy - April Avison

You don't have to agree with Oscar-winning filmmaker Michael Moore. But it seems his latest work will command your respect.

The controversial documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" opened in theaters Friday and broke single-day records at two New York City theaters. I was among hundreds who waited in line for two hours on Saturday at a small theater in North Carolina, where the film sold out in each of its time slots that day.

The subject matter has caused some to attempt to block the film's U.S. release but the firestorm of controversy has proved once again that perhaps no publicity is bad publicity. In an interview on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" last week, Moore thanked his critics for their vocal protest of the film because of the buzz it generated. As "The Passion of the Christ" proved earlier this year, controversy sells movie tickets.

But there is more to "Fahrenheit" than controversy. In case you've been living in a cave and haven't heard about the film, it covers the topic of Sept. 11 and George Bush's determination to invade Iraq. Moore is tireless in his research and efforts to draw to the forefront issues that are important to him. He did it with "Bowling for Columbine," which is the best documentary of our time. His films combine some humor, facts and some of Moore's personal opinions, particularly his dislike for our current president. It's the opinions that seem to bother people so much but he's entitled to them and whether or not we agree with him, he should not be censored.

I appreciate the way he presents his work by showing the interviews he conducted with legislators, soldiers and average citizens. The film shows footage of Bush press conferences and highlights the link between the Bush family and Saudi Arabian families, including that of Osama bin Laden.

I realize this film won't be popular among some Bush supporters, and that's understandable. But it's worth watching anyway, even if you disagree with the material. It's a well-done documentary and has sparked interest in current events and voter registration. Films like this are important, and we should keep our minds open to the messages they can deliver.

April Avison is the city editor of the Daily Herald. Her column appears on Mondays. She can be reached at (770) 957-9161 or via e-mail at aavison@henryherald.com.