'Zero Dark Thirty' director Kathryn Bigelow writes open letter on torture criticism
Kathryn Bigelow, the director behind the Oscar-nominated film "Zero Dark Thirty," wrote an open letter to people who have criticized the movie's torture scenes.
The film has been criticized by reviewers and by anti-torture protesters who picketed the premiere for appearing to lend a favorable light to torture tactics allegedly used in the hunt to find Osama bin Laden.
"Zero Dark Thirty" tells the story of the American efforts to hunt down and kill Osama bin Laden. Jessica Chastain stars as a Maya, a young CIA officer who becomes obsessed with finding the former Al Qaeda leader. It was directed by Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow. "Zero Dark Thirty" includes scenes that depict torture methods like waterboarding that were allegedly used during the interrogation of terror suspects.
Bigelow, who won an Oscar in 2010 for the Iraq war film "The Hurt Locker," said in the letter featured in The Los Angeles Times on January 16, that she supports "every American's 1st Amendment right."
"I do wonder if some of the sentiments alternately expressed about the film might be more appropriately directed at those who instituted and ordered these U.S. policies, as opposed to a motion picture that brings the story to the screen," she added. "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."
The director later said, "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."
Amy Pascal, the Co-Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, released a statement on January 11 about the film's controversy and she said the film "does not advocate torture."
The film is nominated for five Academy Awards, including a nods in the Best Actress in a Leading Role category for Chastain and one for Best Picture. However, Bigelow was snubbed in the directing category. Check out the full list of nominees here.
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