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Read: Kathryn Bigelow's Essay Addressing Depiction of Torture in 'Zero Dark Thirty'

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood January 16, 2013 at 11:56AM

Director Kathryn Bigelow has published an essay in the L.A. Times addressing the controversy surrounding her Oscar-nominated film "Zero Dark Thirty" and its depiction of torture. "I do wonder if some 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 writes. Highlights below.
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Kathryn Bigelow
Kathryn Bigelow

Director Kathryn Bigelow has published an essay in the L.A. Times addressing the controversy surrounding her Oscar-nominated film "Zero Dark Thirty" and its depiction of torture. "I do wonder if some 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 writes. Highlights below.

The full essay can be read here.

On freedom of artistic expression, and her lifelong pacifism:

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.

On the confusion between depiction and endorsement:

For confusing depiction with endorsement is the first step toward chilling any American artist's ability and right to shine a light on dark deeds, especially when those deeds are cloaked in layers of secrecy and government obfuscation.

On the role of torture in the hunt for Osama bin Laden:

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.

This article is related to: News, Kathryn Bigelow, Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty, Zero Dark Thirty, News


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.