Five Oscar nominations and countless accolades later, the backlash surrounding Zero Dark Thirty's inclusion of numerous torture scenes seems to be nowhere near stopping, event prompting a Senate investigation into the CIA agents who spoke with filmmakers prior to production. In response, the film's director Kathryn Bigelow penned an op-ed in the LA Times today in an effort to clear up some of the criticisms, namely the (unfounded) argument that the film promotes torture.
"First of all: I support every American's 1st Amendment right to create works of art and speak their conscience without government interference or harassment. As a lifelong pacifist, I support all protests against the use of torture, and, quite simply, inhumane treatment of any kind.
Those of us who work in the arts know that depiction is not endorsement. If it was, no artist would be able to paint inhumane practices, no author could write about them, and no filmmaker could delve into the thorny subjects of our time...Indeed, I'm very proud to be part of a Hollywood community that has made searing war films part of its cinematic tradition. Clearly, none of those films would have been possible if directors from other eras had shied away from depicting the harsh realities of combat."
Bigelow went on to address the criticisms that the film insinuated torture of detainees in the former detention and interrogation program led to information about the location of Osama bin Laden.
On a practical and political level, it does seem illogical to me to make a case against torture by ignoring or denying the role it played in U.S. counter-terrorism policy and practices.
Experts disagree sharply on the facts and particulars of the intelligence hunt, and doubtlessly that debate will continue. As for what I personally believe, which has been the subject of inquiries, accusations and speculation, I think Osama bin Laden was found due to ingenious detective work. Torture was, however, as we all know, employed in the early years of the hunt. That doesn't mean it was the key to finding Bin Laden. It means it is a part of the story we couldn't ignore. War, obviously, isn't pretty, and we were not interested in portraying this military action as free of moral consequences.
So, can we all stop talking about this now?
[via LA Times]