Michael Moore has created some of this century's most provocative films, including Roger & Me, The Big One, and Bowling for Columbine.These three films hold one thing in common: They are all non-fiction.If they were to be labeled into one genre, or if one were to search for them in a video store,'documentary' commonly associated with these films.Moore's most recent film, Bowling for Columbine, won the Best Documentary Oscar at the 2003 Academy Awards.
But what exactly is a documentary, and should Moore's work be classified in such a genre?
Webster's Dictionary defines a documentary as "a film or TV program presenting the facts about a person or event."Moore does in fact present facts in his film, including interviews with various people, most notably, Charlton Heston.Additionally, he leads us along his journey throughout the country (and Canada) to find out why America is so obsessed with guns.
The facts Moore presents certainly do have a liberal spin on them, but that does not mean that his work is not a documentary.
Some have argued that documentaries must present an objective opinion about a subject.This is impossible.The Italian Neo-realists tried to create a "real cinema" in the early 1930s and failed.The reason was simple: The camera always chooses to focus on something within the frame, therefore limiting the viewer's options – not very realistic.Moore does much of the same.
He uses his art as a persuasion.He never admits to presenting an objective view, nor should he be required to.Film, documentary or otherwise, is left to the sole discretion of the artist.Moore's work is in fact a documentary because it presents facts of a non-fiction story (not like a non-fiction dramatization, such as Patton).Although it may conceal some facts as well, it is not the obligation of a documentary to present things in an objective manner such…