Saturday, June 26, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11 and a Quick Trip to Haiti

I made it to Fahrenheit 9/11 last night. It was definitely powerful and moving, although I do think Moore overplayed his hand a little bit in the first third of the film while trying to demonize the Saudis and soft-pedaling Saddam Hussein. Despite that, it did a nice job of connecting lots of dots between various members of the Administration and how they have benefited from the War in Iraq with all sorts of side digressions including an excellent analysis of how the Bush Administration has fear of a future terrorist attack to manipulate public opinion. Plus there are a lot of moments of humor woven in amidst the abuses of power and horrors of war: Moore using an ice-cream truck to read the USA Patriot Act to members of Congress, for example.

[ADDENDUM: has a good review that outlines what Fahrenheit 9/11 does well without glossing over the places where Moore wanders from his strongest themes.]

It was a slow day (I'm long spaced between issues for the first time in a long time), so I cut out of the office around 2:00 p.m., which gave me plenty of time to get to the P&G Old Greenbelt cinema, a old independent movie theatre. A severe thunderstorm was hitting as I parked, so I had to make a dash in the rain to get a place in the very long line. I was a little worried the showing might sell out, but I was able to get in. It looked like the 5:00 showing -- which started at about 5:15 so that they could get everyone in -- didn't sell out, but the theatre was quite full; the line for the 7:30 showing was even longer than the 5:00, so it could well have sold out.

Before heading over to Greenbelt, however, I stopped at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. This year's festival hasn't excited me as much as previous years, but since I drive by it every morning and afternoon, I still was tempted to stop.

The three cultures on display for 2004 are Nuestra Música, Mid-Atlantic Water Ways, and Haiti. As the names imply, Nuestra Música focuses on music from across Latin America and Haiti is all about Haiti. Mid-Atlantic Waterways is a little more nebulous, focusing on life along the shore, bays, sounds, and other waterways from Long Island down to the Outer Banks.

There are a few Nuestra Música performances that might be interesting, but none are calling to me like the Scottish performers from last year, and the Mid-Atlantic Water Ways are interesting, but, again, I don't feel as compelled to go as other years. (This could be due, in part, to our proximity to the area in question.)

Haiti, however, did look interesting. I originally was hoping to catch a discussion about Krèyol, but when I got to the Krik Krak tent, the schedule had changed. So I wandered around a bit and stumbled upon an interesting exhibit about the Citadelle Henry, a mountaintop fortress built to guard against French attempts to retake the country after the rebellion.

Also interesting were some of the exhibits on Vodou and the Haitian artwork, including some metal working like the screen my parents gave us for Christmas last year.

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