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"Zero Dark Thirty," the hand of the CIA in the making of the movie

How many Hollywood movies have been inspired by U.S. wars, invasions and minglings outside its boundaries? How many times have secret agents given advice or a bit of editorial prettying up to movies supposedly based on those extra-territorial missions? "Zero Dark Thirty," the latest movie of the sort, on the killing of Omar Ben Laden, perhaps gives a hint to those questions.

According to Tim Walker writing for the British newspaper "The Independent" from Los Angeles, a declassified memo indicates that the CIA pressured the author of the film, Mark Boal, to change scenes which in the original skript showed crude scenes of torture. The memo was revealed after the web site Gawker raised the issue of freedom of expression.

The cloak and dagger agency picked up the telephone five times to give its suggestions to Boal, so as to provide a sweeter image of the CIA. In one of the first drafts of the script Maya--the CIA agent acted by Jessica Chastain--subjected a prisoner to the "submarine" torture treatment. The agency said that was inexact, so the actress in the movie became a mere observer of the torture sequence. 

Among other touchings up, the script writer removed a scene in which dogs were used to intimidate prisoners. (Dogs were used to attak naked prisoners in the invasion of Iraq because it is believed that persons of Islamic faith have special fear of angry dogs.)

How many other movies have had the "touch" of the CIA is anyone’s guess. Yet it is clear that countless movies of this sort are produced and marketed in such a way as to promote a whitewashed version of Washington’s actions abroad in its struggle to defend and expand its cultural, economic and military interests--a version that is quite often in sharp contrast with that of persons on the other side of the fence.

The message of the hidden powers of state is embedded in thrillers and action movies that are entertaining, usually featuring impressive actions, counting with sexy or otherwise appealing actors, capable of captivating the viewers--and in this way violence and undercover actions are presented as actions for the good of the nation or even of the world, so dressed up that a more objective view of the circumstances brought to life on the screen are pushed out of movie goer’s consciousness. 

In theory the CIA's operations are supposed to take place outside the U.S., so on what grounds did the agency justify its editorial pressuring concerning a film made in the country? In theory freedom of expression should not suppose the need to change movie scripts to satisfy undercover agents, should it? Neither the budget nor the activities of the CIA are subject to popular scrutiny.

 

 

Viernes, 10 de Mayo de 2013 01:52 alfredo #. Agenda cultural (Culture)

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gravatar.comAutor: Louise Imm-Cooper

Excellent article...although there are those in the US who "are constantly watching" both overt and covert activities...mostly out of the public eye.

Fecha: 12/05/2013 14:37.


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