5:48 pm - 01/17/2013

'Zero Dark Thirty makes me hate muslims'

The fil Zero Dark Thirty s now showing in theaters nationwide and reactions are starting to appear on social networks. Here are some collected on the tumblr site dapsandhugs:

muzzies 1
muzzies 2

While the film has obviously found its supporters, backlash against i continues to grow. Yesterday, director Kathryn Bigelow defended her film from charges it promotes torture in an Op-Ed for th Los Angeles Times Bigelow claimed artistic license writing, "those of us who work in the arts know that depiction is not endorsement." While this is obviously true, the film goes further than depiction. As Deepa Kumar wrote he film promotes extra judicial killing and the drone warfare that has become the hallmark of the Obama administration's "war on terror."

More disgusting tweets at Source 1, I don't have anything else to say.

Source 1 , Source 2
ediesedgwick 18th-Jan-2013 02:19 pm (UTC)
Re: Your second point. I don't personally believe the CIA when they say that they didn't use torture for key intel to get Bin Laden, I'm 99.9% sure that they said that because they didn't want to put a damper on what people saw as a victory for the US. But her source of information for this movie was the CIA, and her movie is not consistent with what they say happened, so it's still not "historically accurate" according to the version of history presented by her sources.

Do you see what I mean? It would be another thing entirely if she had unearthed all this other evidence that went against the CIA's account of things, and then incorporated that into her movie. One of my problems with the movie is that she got her research from pretty much the most biased source imaginable in the first place, and then on top of that she took some creative liberties with their account of things, but still tries to defend her depiction of torture as useful in the script because it's "accurate."

It's more problematic because the viewer is clearly meant to empathize with the torturers throughout the movie anyway. They aren't punished for what they did, they are rewarded with a successful mission even if someone wants to claim victory is portrayed as hollow.

Edited at 2013-01-18 02:23 pm (UTC)
zurbraran 18th-Jan-2013 08:32 pm (UTC)
But there is no one CIA account of things. The (very carefully worded) position CIA officials took in 2012 on the use of torture in the hunt for bin Laden contradicts previous positions they've taken on this matter since 2001. Her movie may be inconsistent with what they NOW say happened, but it's not inconsistent with what's come out of there before.

I'm just suspicious of people who are insisting, "We know torture played no role" and basing this on a CIA statement they've cherry-picked out of a batch of considerably uglier, more suspicious accounts (whose existence they don't acknowledge at all, either out of convenience, or embarrassing ignorance of the history of the torture debate in the U.S. over the past decade)

It reeks of trying to have their clean, pretty victory without facing the reality that it may have been achieved through ugly means.

ediesedgwick 18th-Jan-2013 08:49 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I see what you mean. It seems very bizarre to me that they would give her the "real" account of what happened, knowing that the film would be released a few years after the US has changed its public stance on torture. It makes little sense to give her info to portray the situation one way, and at the same time make different public statements.

There are also other inconsistencies.. like for example they supposedly knew about the courier before the torture in the film started, but in the film the torture is the thing that got them results. Not saying that they couldn't have gotten THAT info from torture also, but they supposedly learned some shit about the courier that the movie does not portray accurately.

TBH, my biggest issue is that I think that Americans have no business making this movie in the first place, the weirdness of supposed historical accuracy and claiming that her American-sympathetic depiction is totally different from endorsement is just the icing on the shitcake.

Like idk, I am obviously not at all sympathetic to americans in the situation and would never try to gloss over the atrocities committed to "fight terror," I am just kind of pointing out that she she not try to protect herself from the controversy that she KNEW was going to happen by claiming "historical accuracy," when her movie is based on a biased source that has released inconsistent statements about what happened.

Edited at 2013-01-18 08:50 pm (UTC)
zurbraran 19th-Jan-2013 01:07 am (UTC)
Honestly, I'm just cranky that what could have been a much-needed public discussion of America's ever-shifting stance on torture over the past decade has instead turned into a discussion of how a movie besmirched the good name of the CIA.

Re: Bigelow/Boal's intentions - I'm genuinely baffled. For example, watching ZDT, I was reminded of CIA memos from 2007, which stated that Guantanamo detainees KSM & Abu Faraj al-Libi gave up the crucial courier info not during the water-boarding/"enhanced interrogation" sessions, but many weeks afterwards.

Which was similar to ZDT in that torture didn't immediately elicit confession, however, there was the very real possibility that it made detainees more psychologically compliant and dulled their mental acuity, making them less able to withstand verbal interrogation.

If Boal had invented those scenes out of thin air, I would agree that he had injected his own pro-torture views into the narrative. What I find maddening is that there are plenty of CIA memos & sources available that support those scenes. If KB & MB want to publicly claim "historical accuracy", they also need to have the balls to point to these sources & publicly challenge the criticisms that CIA officials & congressmen have made of their movie.

If they don't have the balls to do that, then why are these scenes in the movie? It's bizarre - inserting plot points that blatantly contradict the current administration's official story & back up Bush-era CIA accounts feels like a deliberate & political act, yet nothing else in the movie, nor their subsequent defense of it suggests what was intended by it.

Quite frankly, it might be giving them too much credit to ponder if their point was "torture is an ugly but necessary tool", or if it was to say, "this was the shameful & ugly cost of winning. Deal with it", or something else.

Some of their comments have been so fucking dumb & clueless (Boal: the film is not pro-torture because the guy confesses over dinner, not during torture) that I wonder if they fully understood or noticed the implications of their own work.

ediesedgwick 19th-Jan-2013 01:50 am (UTC)
"Some of their comments have been so fucking dumb & clueless (Boal: the film is not pro-torture because the guy confesses over dinner, not during torture) that I wonder if they fully understood or noticed the implications of their own work."

You deserve an award for this sentence+comment. It sums up exactly why the arguments from the filmmakers defending this movie make me so angry.

The movie is incredibly sympathetic to Americans, their attempts at historical accuracy are superficial at best (just a marketing strategy, really), but they're completely shying away from the exact controversy that THEY created in order to get people interested in their film. All of this would be closer to fine if it was a fiction movie... if they weren't making a movie about a highly political real event, painting the americans as sympathetic in a war where Americans were and are the bullies.

IMO It's the same old shitty anti-muslim movie that has been made for ages, but with "we tortured, we feel really bad about it" tacked on to try and look less overtly biased in favor of america.
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