TORONTO: Filmmaker Michael Moore compares US President Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler in his provocative new documentary, “Fahrenheit 11/9” that got its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on Thursday to a sold-out audience.
The documentary examines the forces Moore believes contributed to Trump’s election victory in November 2016, drawing parallels with the rise of Hitler in 1930s Germany.
The White House could not immediately be reached for comment on Thursday.
At one point, the film superimposes Trump’s words over videos of Hitler’s rallies, as a historian talks about the rise of strong men to positions of power.
“We explore the question of how the hell we got in this mess and how do we get out of it,” the liberal activist told reporters ahead of the film’s screening.
“He’s (Trump) been around for a long time and we’ve behaved in a certain way for a long time and when you look back now you can see how the road was paved for him,” Moore said.
The new film was a call to action for Americans, said Moore, who won an Oscar in 2003 for his gun violence documentary “Bowling for Columbine.”
“We are in a war to get our country back,” he said. “Anyone who doesn’t understand that is going to be sorely disappointed in the results of what’s about to happen in the next few years with Donald Trump.”
“Fahrenheit 11/9” takes its title from the early hours of Nov 9, 2016, when Republican candidate Trump was officially declared the victor over Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton.
In the film, Moore assigns blame for Trump’s victory to widespread assumptions that Clinton would win, vested interests, and US media that prioritised the big audiences Trump drew to television programming.
The documentary premiered the same week the New York Times printed an anonymous opinion column whose writer described “a quiet resistance” to Trump within his own administration, and advance excerpts of a new book by journalist Bob Woodward portrayed Trump as prone to impulsive decision-making.
It follows Moore’s one-man show on Broadway last year in which he used his satirical blend of humour to target Trump and encourage liberals to turn resentment at the Republican political agenda into resistance.
The film also touched on topics ranging from mass shootings in American schools to the contamination of water in Moore’s Flint, Michigan hometown.
At the end of the Toronto premiere, Moore emerged on stage, accompanied by some of the Florida school students who led nationwide protests demanding stricter gun laws.
“Fahrenheit 11/9” will open in movie theatres across the US on Sept 21.