View Full Version : De Palma's new movie Redacted is redacted

10-12-2007, 08:49 AM

De Palma Goes to War Over Iraq Movie
Fri Oct 12, 2007 9:34am BST
By Steven Zeitchik

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - Director Brian De Palma is fighting battles on two fronts for his gritty Iraq war movie "Redacted," blasting the film's distributor and taking incoming fire from right-wing pundits.

He told a New York Film Festival audience late Wednesday that Magnolia Pictures forced him to black out the faces in a montage of real photos that runs at the end of the film.

"The irony of all this is that even though everyone (in Iraq) has a digital camera and access to the Internet, somehow we don't see any of these images," De Palma said. "Why are things being redacted? My own film was redacted."

The graphic photos depict victims of the war; with the black magic-marker etchings across their faces, though, the faces are now difficult if not impossible to recognize. Magnolia executives have said that it's impossible to get legal releases for the photos, while company owner Mark Cuban has been quoted as saying he found the unredacted images problematic.

While Magnolia probably is one of the few major indie distributors that would release the provocative war movie -- which depicts fictional soldiers raping an Iraq teenager and killing her family -- the director has said he felt misled because Magnolia originally told him he could use the photos unredacted.

The dispute is likely to further stoke the movie's critics, particularly on the right. Comments about the movie by De Palma -- already a whipping boy for what conservative pundits say is a radical agenda -- prompted Fox News on Thursday to cover the story as "far-left infighting," with Bill O'Reilly calling De Palma "a true villain in our country" and saying the movie could lead to deaths of U.S. troops.

O'Reilly suggested that no one would see the film, though an enthusiastic response at the New York Film Festival screening -- and the continued glare from right-wing media -- likely would raise curiosity levels and possibly ticket sales.

"Redacted," which was shot in Jordan with real soldiers and actors, will be released next month.

The comments cap several tense days at the movie's major-media debut. On Monday, after the director complained about the decision on the photos at a NYFF news conference, Magnolia president Eamonn Bowles and Jason Kliot, one of the film's producers, each stood up from the audience to disagree (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDNWXgM9F70). [the full press conference can be found here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_cqdLaKNdk)]

Bowles countered the charge that Magnolia was taking the easy way out when he asked De Palma in front of reporters, "Who else would make this movie?"

But De Palma remains outspoken. Commenting generally about passages being redacted from military documents, De Palma said Wednesday: "One starts to wonder why is this happening. Is someone trying to stop us from seeing this?" he asked. "It's all on YouTube."

--Reuters/Hollywood Reporter


At SpoutBlog (http://blog.spout.com/2007/10/09/the-redacting-of-redacted/#more-986). Karina Longworth gets a statement from Mark Cuban, and Eamonn Bowles comments at Movie City Indie (http://www.mcnblogs.com/mcindie/archives/2007/10/redacting_out_a.html).

I can understand that the faces of the victims were blacked out and that some of the images may be removed, because the studio doesn't want to open itself up to a lawsuit. Jason Kliot makes a good point when he argues that the Fair Use laws are set up in a way "so we cannot use images of our own culture to tell the truth about our own culture" (it seems to be irrelevant whether the final product is a documentary or a commercial film). I can also understand that the images add a layer of realism to the director's vison, and underline that these are things that really happened.