Redacting Redacted

Brian De Palma’s Redacted, the devastating reconstruction of the rape and murder of an Iraqi girl by American soldiers, has been one of the most divisive films at the New York Film Festival and it came as no surprise when tempers flared at a NYFF press conference with De Palma yesterday. “Did you intend to make a horror film for hipsters?” one incensed journalist asked. Answer: “No.”

When selection committee member J. Hoberman asked about the black bars that now cover some of the photographs at the conclusion of the film, Palma didn’t pull any punches, either: Redacted is now itself redacted,” he said. “My cut was violated.” No sooner had he fingered producer Mark Cuban for the changes in the film that a lone voice spoke up from the back of the Walter Reade Theater: “That’s not true!”

Eamonn Bowles from Magnolia Pictures went on to contradict De Palma, and after the conference, co-producer Jason Kliot took to the stage to explain that he saw the problem not as a “Cuban vs. De Palma type silly debate” but an issue of Fair Use laws, which he considered completely unfair: “they set it up so we cannot use images of our own culture to tell the truth about our own culture.”

De Palma also spoke about desensitization, voyeurism, and whether it’s easier to be labeled a misogynist or a traitor. At Spoutblog, Karina Longworth gets a statement from Cuban, and Bowles comments at Movie City Indie. My review of Redacted is up on About.com. The redacted version of the film will screen for the public on October 9 and 10. Magnolia will release the film in November.