By: E&P Staff
Critics of the war in Iraq have long charged that the press has usually whitewashed the death and violence of the conflict by refusing to publish or air some of the most graphic images. Now a famous filmmaker — using some of the photos that newspapers have failed to print — is trying to do something about that.
The latest film by Brian DePalma, director of numerous well-known movies such as “Scarface,” “The Untouchables” and “Carrie/” is aptly called “Redacted” and has just been shown for the first time as part of the Venice Film Festival. DePalma spoke to reporters there, saying, among other things, “Pictures are what will stop the war.”
The film centers on perhaps the most horrendous known atrocity involving U.S. troops, the gang rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl and four members of her family in March 2006. DePalma had directed in 1989 a movie about a rape by U.S. soldiers of a Vietnamese girl called “Casualties of War,” starring Sean Penn and the young Michael J. Fox.
“All the images we…have of our war are completely constructed — whitewashed, redacted,” said De Palma in Venice, according to press reports. “One only hopes that these images will get the public incensed enough to get their congressmen to vote against the war.”
DePalma makes use of images he has grabbed from the Web, including soldiers’ home videos and photos that have never appeared in print. There’s also more standard documentary film footage and the use of fictionalized techniques and characters to avoid certain legal issues, making it into an unusual kind of “docu-drama.”
“The movie is an attempt to bring the reality of what is happening in Iraq to the American people,” he said after a screening in Venice.
“In Vietnam, when we saw the images and the sorrow of the people we were traumatizing and killing, we saw the soldiers wounded and brought back in body bags. We see none of that in this war,.
“It’s all out there on the Internet, you can find it if you look for it, but it’s not in the major media. The media is now really part of the corporate establishment….
“When I went out to find the pictures, I said (to the media) give me the pictures you can’t publish…
“Everything that is in the movie is based on something I found that actually happened. But once I had put it in the script I would get a note from a lawyer saying you can’t use that because it’s real and we may get sued.”
Ever wonder how critics greeted the greatest musical work ever — Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony? See: