December 31, 2004

MY EARLIER MENTION OF MICHAEL WILSON’S NEW DOCUMENTARY ON MICHAEL MOORE expressed a hope that it would be shown on college campuses. Some people doubt that, based on allegations of leftist bias.

Leftist bias on campus is real, of course. But several things suggest that this film might find an audience on college campuses. The first is that people have noticed the heavy leftist tilt of things like speaker series and film committees, and there’s pressure for balance. The second is that Michael Moore — having quite possibly cost the Democrats the election — is in somwhat bad odor even on the left these days.

But the most important is that Wilson’s film is really about the ethics of documentary filmmaking, and the ease, and danger, of going over to the Dark Side by manipulating subjects and engaging in deceit; Wilson is quite forthright about his own struggles with temptation in that regard. That would seem to me to make Wilson’s film an excellent teaching tool, and highly suited for a college audience, both within Film Studies programs and beyond them.

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