Less than flattering portrait of controversial Oscar-winning documentary maker Michael Moore (Bowling for Columbine) made by two Canadian filmmakers who started out as admiring fans.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2007
Polarising audiences into Michael Moore loyalists and those who have long suspected he is nothing more than a blowhard, Manufacturing Dissent set out to be an admiring portrait of the popular filmmaker of Roger & Me, Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11, before its crew hit one major obstacle: Michael Moore, like many of his own subjects, refused to be interviewed. Without his cooperation, affable Canadians Rick Caine and Debbie Melnyk were forced to tail Moore on his 2004 Slacker Uprising Tour, where they were inexplicably treated like pariahs, prevented from plugging into the sound board at Wayne State University and kicked out of another rally by Moore’s sister, who did not seem aware of her own hypocrisy. Forced to dig behind the scenes, the portrait that emerges is less than flattering. Ex-colleagues testify to Moore’s paranoia, megalomania and occasional requests that they lie on his behalf. Examining his body of work, the filmmakers uncover factual inaccuracies, fabrications and wilful omissions, including the revelation that the entire narrative framework of Roger & Me was a fib. Moore did indeed secure an audience with Roger Smith, the head of General Motors, but he left it on the cutting room floor.
“Viewers can decide themselves which examples are serious sins and which are the kind of quibbles made about almost all public figures, particularly showmen… Unlike the majority of often shoddy and questionably motivated deconstructions of Michael Moore, Manufacturing Dissent comes from filmmakers sharing his political bent, and labors to present both the pro and the con on the divisive figure.” — John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter