Grant, B. K. and Sloniowski, J. Documenting the Documentary. Detroit, Wayne State Univ. Press, 1998.
Warren, C. (ed.). Beyond Document: Essays on Nonfiction Film. Hanover, Wesleyan Univ. Press, 1996.
It is as though the filmmaker hooked us by offering himself as bait in order to draw us into his anticorporate capitalist sermon. The factual distortions of Roger and Me, its cavalier manipulations of documentary verisimilitude in the service of political polemic, have been analyzed at great length. I still find the film winning, up to a point, and do not mind its ‘unfairness’ to the truth, as I do its abandonment of what had seemed a very promising essay-film. Yet perhaps the two are related: Moore’s decision to fade out his subjective, personal, ‘Michael,’ seems to coincide with his desire to have his version of the Flint, Michigan, story accepted as objective truth.
of the depressed of Flint) tells the unemployed “Tough times don’t last; tough people do.” Just as absurd and even more damaging is Anita Bryant’s Republican-based message that “You have today. Today’s a new day” and her less-than-stirring to the unemployed rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone.
The press and others attacked Moore for presenting the film as objective truth when in reality it is a matter of degrees of perception, mainly Moore’s. He portrays the 30,000+ people who were thrown out of work by GM as being stripped of their jobs between 1986 and 1987 when the actual downsizing occurred over a ten year period. Still, for all of the failure to present factual accuracy, Moore’s film-making technique enthralls us as a perfect blend of sadness and very biting and funny humor. From tacky to inept, figures like Pat Boon, Bob Eubanks, and Miss America add to Moore’s damning portrait of America in the 1980s. His use of juxtaposed shots, from former employees skinning rabbits to the swells of Flint blithely unconcerned about the firings at their “Gr