Trump At War In The Gaurdian: “The Trump Films That May Swing The Midterms”

From The Guardian:

“You can say what you like about Donald Trump’s presidency … And that’s pretty much all the instruction the documentary film world has needed. So manifold are the contentious aspects of Trump’s brief reign, documentary makers of every persuasion have latched on to the subject. Like hibernating insects being awakened by the first breath of spring, here is the moment they have been waiting for: the onset of the all-important US midterm elections and awards season. The big guns of the genre are locked and loaded. Although, as we shall see, the Trump phenomenon has also attracted the very worst film-makers out there.

Rather than a test for Trump’s presidency, this could turn out to be a testing time for documentary itself. The intention for these films to sway hearts, minds and voting intentions. But let’s also admit that Trump sells because outrage sells. Trump has caused such disruption and division, and so brazenly made everything about himself, he seems to be the only story in town. With the stakes and the temperature raised, both his opponents and his supporters crave ammunition. (War metaphors are entirely appropriate.)

Foremost among this season’s batch is Fahrenheit 11/9, the latest from Michael Moore, whose title apes his anti-Bush doc Fahrenheit 9/11, and whose unofficial tagline is: “How the fuck did this happen?” As one of the few people who saw Trump’s 2016 election victory coming, Moore has earned the right to look for answers, but he’s by no means alone. Earlier this year, Hollywood and Broadway producer James D Stern, a self-confessed political junkie, conducted his own blue-state listening tour for his doc American Chaos. Meanwhile, in American Dharma, Errol Morris listens to just one person: Steve Bannon, former Trump strategist and “alt-right” firebrand. Morris has become something of a specialist in the no-frills, sit-down grilling of the big politico, having tackled former defence secretaries Robert McNamara (The Fog of War, which won the best documentary Oscar in 2004) and Donald Rumsfeld (The Unknown Known). Failing to land any killer blows, though, American Dharma does little more than give Bannon a platform.”

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