For every Dorothy there's a Wicked Witch of the West, so on the eve of the release of Michael Moore's Sicko comes Debbie Melnyk and Rick Caine's Manufacturing Dissent. But it's not that black and white: these liberal documentarists set out to make a film that celebrated Moore but after digging up a few unsavoury truths decided, in true, um, Moore fashion, to expose these falsehoods to the cinematic masses.
Manufacturing Dissent uncovers the ways in which Moore has fashioned some of his supposedly truthful narratives from fiction - cue memorable scenes from his films that turn out to have been faked. Remember that free gun for opening a bank account? Interviewees then attest to Moore's sins, but there are a few unnecessary character assassinations, like one contributor whose gripe is that Moore waddles. Helpful. But are Moore's foibles for the greater good?
"ONLY FAIR HE SHOULD TASTE HIS OWN MEDICINE"
There's no one out there doing what Moore does and reaching the audiences he reaches, having put the political documentary back on the cinematic map. But in our unfailingly democratic society, it's only fair that the man himself should taste the medicine he so regularly dishes out. The problem in making a documentary about Moore, though, is that it probably won't be as interesting as a documentary made by him, even if his techniques are used. Still, before Moore's leftisms become the gospel of the mildly politically motivated cinemagoer, it's time they were put up for debate and discussion, and that Manufacturing Dissent certainly does.
Manufacturing Dissent: Uncovering Michael Moore is out in the UK on 5 October 2007.