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Bowling for Columbine - Essay Example

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Bowling for Columbine" (2002) is one of the most popular and well-known documentary films of Michael Moore. Critics suppose that this film is the best example of contemporary documentary practice reflecting modern trends in filmmaking and modern art. This documentary film won the Anniversary Prize, Oscar and Cesar Award (France).
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Bowling for Columbine
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Download file to see previous pages Michael Moore unveils that in modern world, many teenagers follow the example of adults and film heroes trying to obtain guns and use force against innocent citizens. For most of them, guns represent "adulthood", a stylish and trendy way of life. According to Jasis Ordonez-Jasis (2003) "Moore's film explores issues of violence and fear in U.S. society, particularly surrounding the Columbine tragedy of the morning of April 20, 1999, when 12 high school students and one teacher were killed, and dozens of others were wounded, by two fellow classmates" (Jasis and Ordonez-Jasis, 2003, p. 127).
In this documentary, Moore uses specific techniques and methods to unveil the message of the film. Traditional definition of a documentary states that "the film is only the sum of the facts recorded on film, or, if you like, not merely the sum, but the product, a 'higher mathematics' of facts" (Michelson cited Bruzzi, 2000, 11). In "Bowling for Columbine", Moore goes beyond traditional documentary practices and norms using elements of fiction. Some critics accuse him in using "false" facts and "deception" which help Moore to influence perception of viewers (Hardy, 2002, Galupo, 2002). For instance, Hardy comments that "Moore leads the reader to draw inferences which he must have known were wrong. Indeed, even speeches shown on screen are heavily edited, so that sentences are assembled in the speaker's voice, but which were not sentences he uttered. Bowling uses deception as its primary tool of persuasion and effect" (Hardy, 2003). Taking into account "Bowling for Columbine", the mixture of different styles and tools can be interpreted as a specific style of Moore which distinguishes him from other filmmakers. Critics suppose that "Bowling for Columbine" "analyzes with irony and poignancy the corporate, media, and government involvement in creating a climate of pervasive paranoia, exacerbating threats, while glorifying, justifying, or trivializing violence here and abroad" (Ordonez-Jasis, Jasis, 2003, p. 127). To prove this idea, Moore uses military and diplomatic actions conducted by the USA.
Throughout the film, Moore uses dramatization and summarization as the main methods to create the message in "Bowling for Columbine". From the very beginning, the signs in the film suggest that maybe evil can prevail even in the presence of good. The severity of this notion carries much weight in the "real" world. The documentary and gritty feel of the film also gives realistic mood and that might signify the reality of everyday life. The trend towards more graphic violence in movies parallels the transition of the general viewing audience to a higher shock level. Viewers are shocked by facts and events depicted in the documentary. Critics criticize Moore for "using too much jokey music, and also for making himself the focus of the story once or twice too often. Mostly, though, he listens to people, in sorrow and outrage and raucous amusement; and what he hears, he communicates without a dull moment, except maybe one" (Klawans, 2002, p. 44).
In "Bowling for Columbine", Moore selects the most impressive facts and events creating atmosphere of fear and terror. Some critics (Hardy, 2002, Galupo, 2002) accuse Moore in subjectivity, because he presents one side of the problem only. This method is not typical for documentary films (Bruzzi, 2000), but it helps Moore to depict the gap between expected, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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