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Fahrenheit 9/11

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Documentary films, such as Michael Moore's film Fahrenheit 9/11 have grown in popularity enormously in recent years and there are many reasons for this. Reality television has topped the charts as one of the most successful genres on television. Terrorism has become a major issue to the citizens of Western civilizations since the World Trade Towers were attacked and people are eager to hear information about terrorism. The media has played a huge part in broadcasting the latest news in regards to terrorism but a lot of this is passed by the government before being broadcasted. As a result documentaries have picked up as they are a voice from the general public in a sense and are inexpensive in comparison to feature films, but also relay their information through the use of narrative techniques.

Reality television has been introduced in recent years and has been highly successful. It has gone on to dominate prime time television with shows like Big Brother, Australian Idol, Survivor, X Factor and Amazing Race. The viewing audiences are able to engage with the characters, who in this case are real people and experience real life drama. The characters, the group dynamics and the conflicts have combined to provide compelling viewing. From this saturation of reality television, audiences have become more accepting of documentary films and their recent success can be linked to the demand from viewing audiences to see and hear real people and real stories. They have also become accustomed to the structure and the different ways that reality can be presented to them. Documentaries have gone from being purely for informative purposes with specialized target audiences to mainstream entertainment as big blockbusters in cinemas. Reality television has played a main part in helping documentaries make this transition to the big screen.

Documentary films popularity is due in part to the fact that they have addressed relevant issues of modern day society such as terrorism, government, obesity and gun laws. Fahrenheit 9/11 offers a critique of the Bush government in the context of a post September eleven America where the people no longer trust the government and they have a lot of questions that they want answered. Michael Moore suggests through his construction of Fahrenheit 9/11 that the Bush government is corrupt and that there are a little too many coincidental occurrences. Some of these include the Saudi's owning seven per cent of the United States economy and the Bush family having a good relationship with the Bin Laden family, although he does not really prove these facts with significantly outstanding evidence. Because Moore's film is about the Bush government, a lot of people have been interested to see what he has to say about George Bush as president of the United States of America after his very successful documentary, Bowling for Columbine. Due to the relevance of recent documentaries, they have become a more popular source of entertainment.

A lot of the information received from the media has been passed through or come from the government and can be considered by some as propaganda. This is a recent big issue in the United States since September eleven to get support for the war on Iraq. Michael Moore along with other producers has provided a different perspective on things, which causes them to be more appealing to audiences. Moore has included a section in Fahrenheit 9/11 where he is talking about the ties that George Bush has to certain media and state officials. During the election period all the television stations were announcing that Al Gore had the majority of votes until Fox News said otherwise, Moore points out that a high supervisor of Fox and an electoral official went way back with Bush. A psychologist is interviewed who talks about the "fear factor" where if you surround people with fear, as the media is doing, then they will become fearful and suspicious of anything. Documentaries have become popular because of how they provide a different perspective to that which is provided by the media.

A main part of the reason why documentaries are a growing form of entertainment is because of the entertainment factor that is created with in them. There is a lot of satire and humour that is used in modern documentaries compared to the older styled ones. Documentaries used to be very subject specific and made for particular target audiences, where a lot of interviews with professionals and experts on particular matters were used. There was no entertainment factor implemented into them and they were very slow paced, as their purpose was to provide information on a subject for others to learn from. Nowadays documentaries are very fast paced and involve a lot of music and humour. Wild west style music is played at the beginning of Fahrenheit 9/11 whilst United States politicians are getting ready for interviews and joking around, representing how they do not take it all too seriously. A lot of cinematic elements are used through out the film too, for example an extreme close-up of George Bush's face and eyes is used as the eyes are seen as a window to the soul and it provides a psychological profile. There is also powerful film making when there is a montage of the court where African Americans are told to sit



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