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January 16, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Kathryn Bigelow

Director Kathryn Bigelow has again attempted to deflect criticism of the torture scenes depicted in her film, Zero Dark Thirty, emphasizing her previous declaration that “depiction is not endorsement.” Writing in the Los Angeles Times, Bigelow commented, “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.” Bigelow further maintained that she regards herself as a “lifelong pacifist,” adding, “I support all protests against the use of torture and, quite simply, inhumane treatment of any kind.” She did not address a central point made by her critics, however: that, contrary to the movie’s implication, the torture techniques depicted in the movie played no role in locating Osama bin Laden. Indeed, as Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Steve Coll, author of Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden from 9/11 to Abbottabad, observed in Sunday’s New York Times Review of Books, in virtually every instance in the film in which the lead character played by Jessica Chastain “extracts important clues from prisoners … torture is a factor.” Coll wrote that the faults of the film “matter because they may well affect the unresolved public debate about torture, to which the film makes a distorted contribution.”