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"Death Of A President": A Threat?

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Mistletoe Angel
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0 posted 09-14-2006 04:17 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

Has anyone else begun hearing about this new British film that has recently begun to generate intense controversy (and most understandably so) titled "Death Of A President", supposedly a "fictional documentary about the assassination of U.S. President George W. Bush"?

Little is known publicly about the film's director, Gabriel Range, but here's a list of other films he has written and directed:


The Great Dome Robbery (2002)

Drama that tells the true story of a gang of robbers who planned to steal the world's largest diamond from the Millennium Dome where it is on show, unaware that they have been under police surveillance ever since they started planning the robbery.


The Day Britain Stopped (2003) (TV)

Dramatised documentary which analyses the catastrophe and national tragedy that could happen to Britain if its already over-burdened transport systems reached breaking point. Set in the future on 19 December 2003 and presented as if it were a retrospective documentary made subsequently, complete with mock archive footage and hindsight interviews.


The Man Who Broke Britain (2004) (TV)

A devastating terrorist strike wipes out much of Saudi Arabia's oil production; the same day a trader of Saudi origin disappears from UK investment bank Sun First Credit (SFCB). Managers soon discover the missing trader, Samir Badr, has built up crippling debts, multiplied a hundred fold by the attacks in Saudi. SFCB, once the toast of the city, is suddenly heading for bankruptcy, taking a whole raft of other banks down with it. The resulting market crash and banking crisis will push Britain and the US into a 21st Century recession: pension funds are slashed, unemployment soars and the housing market collapses. Following the discovery that Badr has committed suicide, a new Al-Qa'eda tape surfaces, in which Bin Laden appears to claim responsibility for the financial turmoil. Suspicion grows that Badr was an Islamic extremist who deliberately sabotaged the bank. As the authorities and the media launch a massive investigation into the apparent Al-Qaeda assault on the pillars of the Western Economy, an alternative explanation emerges. Could greed and incompetence be the real cause of the collapse of Britain's economy?


Now, Range is beginning to promote "Death Of A President" across the Atlantic, already generating controversy and even death threats toward the filmmakers. Wikipedia provides this synopsis:


In October 2007, President of the United States George W. Bush is assassinated by a hidden shooter on his way out of a Chicago hotel, in front of which an anti-war rally is being held. A man of Syrian origins, Jamal Abu Zikri, becomes the number one suspect. Three years later, a documentary filmmaker presents a movie about what the United States has become since the assassination.

The Syrian Jamal Abu Zikri possibly sympathetic to Jihad was initially suspected as the assassin. Dick Cheney, after being elevated to the position of President, uses the possible al-Qaeda connection of the suspect to push his own agenda. He calls for a Patriot Act 3, suspends most civil liberties and for military action against Syria. An already grotesque world situation keeps growing more grotesque.

Eventually, the movie revealed that the perpetrator is a black American, a father of a soldier who had died on duty in Iraq. The assassin blames Bush for the death of his son. He shoots the President, then himself. The killer's suicide note reads: "There's no honor in standing for an immoral country. George Bush killed our David and I can't forgive him." So it turns out that the assassination was entirely personal."


Despite great controversy, Range has staunchly defending the film, including saying the following:


"I think it's very important that Bush is a sitting president. If it was a fictional president, the reaction would be completely different, like watching 24, and would have undermined the entire idea. I wanted it to feel like it's about the world we live in now."


I suppose the general question I have here is, is this really a fake documentary that's designed and intended to stimulate public discussion, or is this merely some sort of political pornography amalgamated in the form of a whodunnit, insinuating a personal or physical threat beyond the film itself under the surface?

I haven't seen the film myself like I hadn't the propaganda that was "The Path To 9/11 (nor do I intend to see either film ever) but my aesthetic reaction in first hearing about this film is that I believe it's insane what that film's director Gabriel Range is arguing; that he had to show Bush get assassinated or his whole message would be diluted. I think that's disturbing, and regardless of my strong disapproval of Bush and I believe his lack of leadership and competence, I believe assassination is wrong and believe it is immoral for anyone to even think of advocating the physical harm of another like that, and if we have allowed ourselves to stoop to a new low where a razor-thin, yet vocal, left-wing minority thinks about and cheerleads the assassination of George W. Bush (like some indymedia bloggers), and a razor-thin, yet vocal, right-wing minority thinks about and cheerleads the assassination of Lincoln Chafee (like Ann Coulter), I wholeheartedly fear for the future of both our nation and the world.

I hope that film (and I predict it will) receive few viewers when it begins skipping into the domestic market. There are all kinds of ways to raise healthy discussion about the issues; spectacle such as this only brings out the worst in us and generates bad blood in my opinion.

Noah Eaton

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa
Edward Grim
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2 posted 09-15-2006 03:44 PM       View Profile for Edward Grim   Email Edward Grim   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Edward Grim's Home Page   View IP for Edward Grim

I'm glad someone is covering this, kudos Mistle.

Look, as a filmmaker I have to say that Gabriel Range has got some balls. But then again I find myself thinking that he's just riding the "controversy train." In the business, controversy sells a film more than a million trailers could, you know what I mean? Filmmakers look for controversial projects just for that reason; and it seems that that's all they want now a days in the genre of political films. But hey, what political film isn’t controversial to begin with, lol.

     Also Range better pray to God that Bush isn't really knocked off or he'll get an unwanted call from the feds quicker than he can say "Who died?"

Cheers    - Ed

Once you are truly insane, it’s all picnics with Kafka after that. See, it’s the process of going crazy that you gotta worry about.

Mistletoe Angel
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3 posted 09-15-2006 05:11 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

Let me try to facillitate the discussion in a different way here, as I admit I did come on quite strong in the initial opening response of this thread.

For instance, let's try and understand the nature of the controversy from Kevin Costner's point of view:


Kevin Costner: September 13, 2006

"It`s awfully hard if you`re his children, his wife, his mother, his dad; there`s a certain thing we can`t lose as human beings, which is empathy for maybe the hardest job in the world," said Costner.

"Whether we think it`s being performed right or not we can`t, like, wish... or think that`s even cute," he added.


I absolutely agree myself that it is important that we as Americans actively discuss and consider the state of our nation from various points of view. I too agree that I feel some civil liberties in our country have been undermined and the government (the executive powers especially) have been exploiting the situations of fear in our nation to push an attempt at a power grab of sorts, which the film may more or less suggest, and that this administration often does not want to bi-partisanally discuss balancing security and liberty.

All the same, it surprises me that Range doesn't seem to understand that, when anything is both produced and promoted via controversy, it's the controversial aspect that's going to dwell on a unanimous majority of minds, and that controversy will only spawn more controversy, and when the merit of any project is judged and defined either entirely or massively by its controversial aspect, there's no way you can expect healthy discussion to sprout from it.

I can't possibly see that a film centered around the assassination of an individual, especially a current and sitting one, is going to accomplish such a thing, and am surprised that Range either ignorantly or insensitively overlooked that inevitability in pushing this film.

Also, I can absolutely understand Costner's point that, regardless of much of the public's dissatisfaction with the job this president and done, and I believe reasonably so, these are very sensitive times as well, and I understand that this president is dealt with so much, and this sort of spectacle only makes it all the more harder for him and his loved ones.

Range and others who are enormously disenchanted with his policies have every right to produce what they'd like, but I hope others here can understand my concerns here, as I also, far more importantly, fear that this sort of film will be abused and used as propaganda for that razor-thin minority of crazy individuals worldwide who are targeting others with terror.

Noah Eaton

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa
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since 12-31-2005
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4 posted 09-15-2006 06:41 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

I don’t have a problem with the film – there’s untold number of fictitious works where presidents are assassinated none of which promote the act but rather describe the reasons and consequences that unfold around it. I agree with range that using a fictional president wouldn’t have created the same connection with reality that the documentary format was designed to achieve.

The same format has been used before covering fictitious events like a super volcano, an oil crisis, a tsunami, all contained elements that tied them to reality. I have to admit I like the “what if” topics covered in documentary format, I think the possibilities they explore are sharper when delivered through a medium we generally construct our worldviews from.

kif kif
since 06-01-2006
Posts 431

5 posted 10-03-2006 04:53 AM       View Profile for kif kif   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for kif kif

I watched 'The Day Britain Stopped' and it was very realistic...although, I couldn't help think it was fear-mongering.

I'm unsure...making the films highlights security issues, hopefully keeping us aware for the future, but it also worries some people into becoming bigoted and part of a closed society. When The Day Britain Stopped was aired, the 'phone lines were jammed with people thinking it was for real, just like War Of The Worlds.

The question is of benefit...who does?

ps; whatever I think of Bush, it must be pretty freaky watching someone elses rendition of your murder, no matter how powerful he is, that's gotta hurt. Some might say 'just desserts', but I'd say it's more to do with the artists love for sensationalism.

I am glad that it's being shown, for it proves that we are indeed a free society, and whatever my opinion of that type of sensational art, I defend it's right to be there.

Member Patricius
since 06-19-2003
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6 posted 10-03-2006 09:12 AM       View Profile for LeeJ   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for LeeJ

to me, this sensationalizes crime and is an insult to society...but, it is freedom of speech and when we start dwindling away at those rights because someone always seems to take things to the other side of the spectrum, then, we loose freedom.  So whataya do...?  Stay away from the film, send a message that this isn't right...that this is an insult to the American public and respect for another human being.

I can't agree with the President and do not like what he has done...but all that aside, I can say, this film is an insult to dignity
and respect for the feelings of others.
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