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Documentary filmmakers Debbie Melnyck and Rick Caine set out to make a straightforward biography of their hero Michael Moore... Melnyk and Caine were sincere fans of Moore, so much so that they wanted to explore his life and message (and ultimately his controversial filmmaking methods) via a documentary of their own. What they discovered was a man who was hard to find and had little to nothing to say, at least when Melnyk and Caine tried to track him down and ask him questions.
But they don’t really need an interview with Moore to get the story - bodyguards aside, Moore’s friends, critics, co-workers, and even residents from his hometown, give it to us. As a result, Manufacturing Dissent might be one of the most honest films ever to feature Michael Moore in it.
So what dirt did Melnyck and Caine dig up? Manufacturing Dissent is not a series of pot-shots at Moore; instead it’s a thorough investigation into his life and career. You’ll see the funny, entertaining man of the people, saying what everyone else is afraid to say, and the politically- overcharged, insecure man who ingeniously manipulates facts and people to get his point across and might be more eager for the spotlight than a social change.
Manufacturing Dissent insightfully examines not just Moore, but his political context. Questions are asked about whether or not films like Fahrenheit 9/11 create new fans of the Left or just create more drama, or whether the means really do justify the ends – and they are asked without pretending the answers will be easy to find. Reminiscent of Moore’s own Roger and Me, Manufacturing Dissent sees Melnyck and Caine chasing an ever-elusive interview with the man himself, facing obstacles and uncovering hidden and damning truths from opponents, collaborators and even friends.
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