De Palma's Redacted real war images censored
Brian De Palma has been very vocal about his film Redacted and how censorship has hit the film, and once again he's been speaking out about the controversial photographs that have been edited from the film by the studio for fear of legal recourse.
De Palma isn't happy at that and feels that the use of these photographs of war, that show some of the real events depicted by the film, are very important and shouldn't have been censored against his wishes and hidden from public viewing.
Is this a studio exercising their right, protecting themselves from legal recourse, or censorship with perhaps deeper political reasoning?
“I find it remarkable. 'Redacted' got redacted. I mean, how ironic...I fought every way I could in order to stop those photographs from being redacted and I still lost.”
Those are the words of De Palma speaking in an interview through Yahoo News. We previously saw the stories about how he was arguing with the President of Magnolia Films, the company behind Redacted, in an open press conference about the photos, and that discussion became quite heated.
Eamonn Bowles, the Magnolia President, said that they were concerned about future law suits from the families of the Iraqi victims shown in the photographs, and admitted that they could not insure the film had the photographs been included.
He went on to say that Magnolia had been placed in an untenable legal position and that De Palma had lost the rights to the final edit of the film in a recent legal arbitration with the Directors Guild of America.
Now that last bit is interesting, because of the Directors Guild say that he's lost legal rights to the film does that mean that he shouldn't get sole Director's credit on the film? Someone else is now legally recognised by the Directors Guild to be editing the film.
However, that's not the main point. Brian De Palma is upset about it and believes that the insurance companies have pressured the studio into pulling the photographs because they wouldn't have insured it otherwise, and he criticised Hollywood for not being able to finance these kind of films.
“I can't even get the photographs out there, that was all surprising to me...What is going on here? These are war photographs. ... You see these and you go 'oh boy, this shouldn't be happening.”
I agree with De Palma. Those of you who know me know that I hate censorship of any form, that I really believe in freedom of speech, I mean I was almost taken to court and sued over an article on my own blog about a leading UK gym franchise because I stood up for the rights of those who commented on my site.
It's also interesting to note that in the first Gulf War we say some horrendous pictures on the news, I even remember seeing charred remains of people, wholly identifiable as people, on the tea time news, I'm talking 6pm here. These were bodies contorted into terrifying positions, burnt to a crisp with sneering smiles to camera. It was horrible. Now there's no footage like that to be seen.
“We saw fallen soldiers, we saw suffering Vietnamese. We don't see any of that now...We see bombs go off, but where do they come down? Who do they hit?”
De Palma had said that the images in the film showed a more realistic view of U.S. troops in action:
“He said the film provided a realistic portrait of U.S. troops and how "the presentation of our troops has been whitewashed" by mainstream media.”
Redacted tells of the terrible events surrounding the Iraqi Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi and her family. U.S. troops gang-raped, killed and burned her body and killed her parents and another family member to cover up the events.
Should the horrors of war be hidden like this, or should they be shown to all? Is this protecting us, saving political face, ensuring that the majority of good soldiers aren't tarnished with the same mark, or is it just straight up censorship that shouldn't be?
Would seeing such images bring about better support, control and punishment for those in violation of human rights? At the very least raise debate and allow properly informed decisions on political choices by the majority?