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It's a Documentary

February 25, 1990

Apropos of some of the trickeries of the deceptive documentarian Michael Moore, it seems to me that the most unpleasant episode in this most cynical of recent films was a sequence about a woman who is trying to eke out a living by raising rabbits for sales to furriers or as pets or as food. The girl is made to look and sound stupid, naive and cruel as she kills and skins a rabbit.

What is, however, fascinating about this sequence is that it parallels parts of the first great documentary ever made: Robert Flaherty's "Nanook of the North"--released in 1920. But Flaherty's camera and his cutting show us human beings acting with bravery and honor--while Moore seems to regard the human race as a pathetic and ridiculous and lying and greedy lot.

MAURICE ZOLOTOW

Hollywood

Zolotow is author of "Billy Wilder in Hollywood," among other books.

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