Volume 74, Number 10 | July 7 - 13, 2004


Koch on Film

By Ed Koch

“Fahrenheit 9/11” (-)
“Fahrenheit 9/11” is well done, but while purporting to be a documentary, it is replete with fabrications. Newsday reported some of Moore’s misstatements as follows: “At the start of ‘Fahrenheit 9/11,’ filmmaker Michael Moore shows a clip of CNN analyst Jeffrey Toobin saying that if ballots had been recounted in Florida after the 2000 presidential vote, ‘under every scenario Gore won the election.’ What Moore doesn’t show is that a six-month study in 2001 by news organizations including The New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN found just the opposite.”

David Brooks, in a brilliant New York Times column on June 26, collected some of the statements that Michael Moore has been making in other countries which denigrate the U.S. and, in my opinion, should cause his fellow citizens to give Moore the Bronx cheer on sight. Brooks writes: “In Liverpool, he [Moore] paused to contemplate the epicenters of evil in the modern world: ‘It’s all part of the same ball of wax, right? The oil companies, Israel, Halliburton.’…When he [Moore] writes about those who are killing Americans in Iraq [he says]: ‘The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not `insurgents’ or `terrorists’ or `The Enemy.’ They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow — and they will win.’ Until then, few social observers had made the connection between Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Paul Revere.”

The movie is a well-done propaganda piece and screed as has been reported by most critics. It is not a documentary which seeks to present the facts truthfully. The most significant offense the movie commits is to cheapen the political debate by dehumanizing the President and presenting him as a cartoon.

Moore is adroit with a camera. So what? Leni Riefenstahl, an even better technician who was responsible for “Triumph of the Will,” praising Adolf Hitler, did not deserve applause, nor does Moore.

The movie’s diatribes, sometimes amusing and sometimes manifestly unfair, will not change any views. They will simply cheapen the national debate and reinforce the opinions on both sides.

“Facing Windows” (+)
A neighbor urged me to see this Italian film which I thought was good but not as great as he suggested.

The film opens in Rome in 1943 when the city was still occupied by the Nazis. A flashback depicts a young Jewish man, Simone (Massimo Poggio), working in a bakery. He overhears a conversation about a pogrom to occur within a few days. That young boy is then shown at least 60 years later identified as Simone (Massimo Girotti) roaming the streets in an apparent state of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Filippo (Filippo Nigro) and his wife Giovanna (Giovanna Mezzogiorno) take the confused man into their home until they can deliver him to a police precinct.

Through flashbacks and current action the plot places Simone as a young man in a homosexual situation and Giovanna in an adulterous relationship with Lorenzo (Raoul Bova) who lives across the street. His apartment windows face the couple’s apartment.

The acting is excellent. Because the plot is so unusual, I expected the film to create a bigger stir with the audience than it did. It is interesting but not gripping.

- Ed Koch


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