The World According to Bush (2004) / Documentary
aka Le Monde Selon Bush
MPAA Rated: Not rated, but I'd rate it PG-13 for some war footage
Running Time: 90 min.
Director: William Karel
Screenplay: William Karel
The story on William Karel's documentary, The World According to Bush, is that it was the alternate choice to Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 to be entered in the Cannes Film Festival for 2004. Both documentaries deal with similar subject matter, and discuss some of the same things about the man in the White House, his past ties, his current business interests, and his motivations for heading into war with Iraq. While Fahrenheit 9/11 would probably get the nod in terms of entertainment value, as most Moore documentaries have a good deal of humor and bombastic dialogue, Karel's is actually the superior film in terms of content and expertise as far as how to make a quality documentary, and utilizes its source material (most of what is included in the movie came from the writings of Eric Laurent) quite well with video footage and interviews.
This would be the documentary of choice for those looking to get their facts, or at least the semblance of facts, from a source that isn't constantly trying to demagogue in order to score points. Very little is commented by Karel, although he does choose to edit his interviews and film footage in such a manner that Bush and his cronies are shown in the least positive light possible. Yes, this is a piece of propaganda, as most documentaries are, delivering a message to the world in the manner Karel sees fit, and with the help of ex-CIA agents, news reporters, historians, and even interviews from advisors to the President himself, this makes a powerful case that Bush is a puppet to corporate interests, religious zealots, and the machine that created monsters like Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden to begin with.
The World According to Bush went on to being broadcast on French television, then had a theatrical release in France. It probably will not be available to the public this would have the most influence on -- the American people, who have a huge election coming up. Once again, this honor goes to the divisive Michael Moore film, although that's not necessarily a bad thing, as that film would probably be more accessible to a larger section of the American public. However, for the news hawks, documentary hounds, and those genuinely interested seeing a different side to the most powerful man in the world than the media usually portrays, The World According to Bush is about as strong a piece of intellectual persuasion as exists in film.
Whether you agree or disagree with Karel's conclusions, this is still a solid documentary, and also one of the best films of 2004.
©2004 Vince Leo