Bowling for Columbine

Poster for Bowling for Columbine

Winter 2003 Main series

Sunday, January 19, 2003 at 4:00pm
Sunday, January 19, 2003 at 7:00pm
Monday, January 20, 2003 at 7:00pm

Empire Theatres, New Minas, NS

Directed by


Rated 18A · 2h 0m
Canada / USA

A presentation of both the Cannes Film Festival (where it was awarded a special jury prize) and the Toronto International Film Festival (where it was runner-up for the Audience Choice award), Bowling for Columbine is a flat-out brilliant cinematic essay on the issue of guns and violence in American society. Using the Columbine High School massacre in April 1999 as his thematic anchor, Moore sets out to uncover the roots of America’s dark, unparalleled propensity for violence. Moore, who is perhaps even more stubborn, determined and insightful here than he was in The Big One, The Awful Truth, and his break-out film Roger & Me (still the highest-grossing documentary ever), visits a Michigan bank that gives new customers a free gun, presents shocking statistics regarding America’s rabid gun culture (more than 11,000 gun deaths per year in the U.S., compared to just over 100 in Canada), and interviews subjects as diverse as a personal associate of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, National Rifle Association chairman Charlton Heston, shock rocker Marilyn Manson and South Park creator Matt Stone (a Columbine grad), all in the service of questioning why gun violence is so ingrained in the American character. If the easy availability of guns were the answer, then what explains Canada, a nation of 10 million families and 7 million guns? In a particularly hilarious sequence, Moore tests the notoriously trusting nature of Canadian society by going door to door in downtown Toronto, only to discover that nobody locks their front door. Profoundly thoughtful, always inquisitive, imaginative and deeply, deeply troubling, Bowling for Columbine is not only the most celebrated documentary of recent years, but also stands as a new breed of cinematic activism.

“This volcanically funny and seriously scary look at America’s obsession with guns is meant to shake us up good. And it does.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

“A flat-out brilliant cinematic essay on the issue of guns and violence in American society.” – Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter

“We need Moore’s noisy, cocky energy, his passion and class consciousness; we need his shticks, we need his stones.” – Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly