‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ Opens Next Week

August 13, 2004

FACT or fiction, propaganda or truth, U.S. filmmakerMichael Moore’s documentary “Fahrenheit9/11”, which is heating up discussion worldwide, willpremiere in Costa Rican theaters next week.Passion abounds on both sides of the Moore fence, and Cine Magaly General Manager LuisCarcheri, who is involved in bringing thefilm here, says he believes Costa Ricanswill not all agree with Moore’s assertionsabout the administration of U.S. PresidentGeorge W. Bush and the war on terror.“I suppose that on these topics they(Costa Ricans) are going to be very divided,”Carcheri said.THE movie presents a series of argumentsimplicating the Bush administrationin assorted misdeeds in the wake of the Sept.11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the UnitedStates. Moore shows footage of Bush readinga book to children for several minutesafter learning about the attack on the WorldTrade Center, draws economic ties betweenthe Bush family and Afghanistan and SaudiArabia, and interviews the mother of a U.S.soldier killed in Iraq.Carcheri, who has not yet seenFahrenheit 9/11, was key in bringingMoore’s documentary “Bowling for Columbine”to Costa Rican theaters earlier thisyear (TT, Jan. 23). The award-winning movie’sunenthusiastic reception in Costa Ricaled Carcheri to tell The Tico Times, “Not somany people go to documentaries here.”Still, Moore’s latest – and likely mostcontroversial – film has people here talkingabout it.Jo Stuart, president of DemocratsAbroad in Costa Rica, thinks people arelooking forward to the film’s Aug. 20release here.“THEY’RE very eager to see it,” saidStuart, who hasn’t seen the movie yet.“I’ve heard some of it seems to be veryaccurate, and some of it seems not to beaccurate. It’s a documentary from oneman’s point of view.”Daniel Soto, a Tico who works as aninternational student advisor at IndianaUniversity in the United States, saw thefilm there and says he expects it to be wellreceived in Costa Rica.“I think it will be popular everywherebecause we don’t receive enough news,everything is scripted or edited. In thisdocumentary, people can see more realitythan what we normally get,” Soto told TheTico Times in a telephone interview fromBloomington, Ind.Susan Tessem, regional chairwomanfor the Western Hemisphere ofRepublicans A-broad International, takesissue with others’ insistence that the movieportrays reality.“I have absolutely no objection to dissentin any way. I think that’s a healthyway of doing things, but I think that a documentaryshould be a documentary, andthis as well as ‘Bowling for Columbine’went off from documented facts into opinions,”said Tessem, who also has not seenthe film. “At that point it’s just a movie,not a documentary, and I think it should becalled what it is.“You don’t lead people to think this isa documented, factual, truthful situation.It’s an opinion, and therefore just a movie,”she added.POSSIBLY increasing the film’s controversialnature here is its portrayal ofCosta Rica as a member of the “Coalitionof the Willing,” the official White Houselist of countries that supported the U.S.-ledinvasion of Iraq.Costa Rica’s representation as a manriding an ox cart is embarrassing, accordingto Soto.“First of all, he (Moore) chose an oxcart, and not a cute typical cart, just an oldcart,” said Soto, who spends four monthsof the year in his native town of SantoDomingo de Heredia, north of San José.Soto, however, isn’t angry withMoore.“Costa Rica supported a war, eventhough it’s a country that doesn’t have anarmy,” Soto said. “It’s not justified. Weshould be neutral.”According to an opinion poll releasedthis week by the University of Costa Rica,which surveyed 1,000 Costa Ricans from allover the country, 63.4% of Costa Ricans saidthey believe the U.S. invasion of Iraq was amistake, while 18.3% did not agree with thatassertion. The poll claimed a margin of errorof plus or minus 3% (see separate article formore on survey results).“I think Costa Ricans will be outragedand upset (after they see the movie)” Sotosaid. “Costa Rica should not have supportedBush in this war.”CARCHERI said he is looking forwardto this kind of strong reaction to the film.“I think there’s going to be an interestinginternal debate between Costa Ricansabout what should be Costa Rica’s positionon the situation in Iraq,” Carcheri said.“This will invite reflection about CostaRica’s role in international conflicts. If thepeople discuss it, that’s very good.“Those who have seen it say it is verywell narrated, but has some exaggerations.I am looking forward to seeing it,”he added.The Outlet Mall in San Pedro, east ofSan José, and the Colonial Mall in Escazú,southwest of San José, will show“Fahrenheit 9/11” beginning Aug. 20, withthe possible addition of Plaza Real Cariari,in Heredia, Carcheri said.

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