Theatrical politics


Issue: "Year in Review 2004," Jan. 1, 2005

If Mel Gibson brought religion to the multiplex, Michael Moore opened the door to politics. Fahrenheit 9/11, his ripping quasi-documentary on the Bush administration and the Iraq War, stirred lots of controversy, but, more importantly, made lots of money-grossing nearly $120 million by year's end. Like The Passion, Fahrenheit 9/11 may be most significant for copycat films that followed. But Mr. Moore's success also caught the attention of conservative filmmakers, who had a noticeable presence in theaters for the first time this year. In the short term, it seems likely that documentaries with a distinct point of view, liberal or conservative, will now find easier sources of funding.

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