De Palma Fights Redacted Edits

Director's war film provokes purple-faced right-wing hysteria.

by | October 12, 2007 | Comments

In a classic example of irony in film, Brian De Palma has found that portions of his war drama Redacted have been…well, redacted.

The film, currently receiving decidedly mixed reviews during its limited run, closes with a montage of photos taken from the Iraq front — photos De Palma was forced to edit by Redacted‘s distributor, Magnolia Pictures, due to what The Hollywood Reporter describes as “legal and financial concerns.” The director took his concerns to the New York Film Festival on Wednesday, where he told an audience:

“The irony of all this is that even though everyone (in Iraq) has a digital camera and access to the Internet, somehow we don’t see any of these images…why are things being redacted? My own film was redacted.”

Movies about the Iraq war have proven to be a tough sell thus far, and given Redacted‘s particularly challenging storyline — the Reporter describes it as depicting “fictional soldiers raping an Iraq teenager and killing her family” — it’s likely that the Mark Cuban-owned Magnolia was one of the only places De Palma’s film could have been made. Still, De Palma feels misled. From the article:

De Palma added that he “lost” the long-running fight with producers to allow the images only 24 hours before the screening. At a postscreening dinner, producers acknowledged that it was a difficult decision but, given the legal and financial concerns, one in which they had little room to maneuver.

The graphic photos depict victims of the war; with the black magic-marker etchings across their faces, though, the faces are now difficult if not impossible to recognize. Magnolia execs have said that it’s impossible to get legal releases for the photos, while Cuban has been quoted as saying he found the unredacted images problematic.

Redacted has already attracted criticism from right-wing pundits such as the popular comedian and respected film critic Bill O’Reilly, who the Reporter quotes as calling De Palma “a true villain in our country” and suggesting that even though “no one” will actually see it, the movie will somehow lead to the deaths of American troops.

De Palma’s comments at the New York Film Festival were met with an emotional response from Magnolia executives Eamonn Bowles and Jason Kliot, who stood up from the audience to disagree:

Bowles countered the charge that Magnolia was taking the easy way out when he asked De Palma in front of reporters, “Who else would make this movie?”

Redacted is scheduled to see wide release on November 30.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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