Saturday, September 01, 2007

Truth-Tellers Who Lie

Brian De Palma has made a movie with images to “get the public incensed enough to get their congressmen to vote against the war."

He calls it “Redacted” to emphasize what the mainstream media has edited out of America’s picture of the war in Iraq. De Palma uses blogs, YouTube posts, videologs on the internet and the video diary of a soldier to convey the horrors of the Iraq war.

Only one tiny problem: The film, shown at the Venice Film Festival, is a “docudrama,” blending fictional techniques with all that unvarnished truth. "Everything that is in the movie,” he says, “is based on something I found that actually happened. But once I had put it in the script I would get a note from a lawyer saying you can't use that because it's real and we may get sued."

This is in the tradition of that other great Hollywood truth-teller, Oliver Stone, who filled the heads of a generation with his own paranoid fantasies about the death of a President in “JFK.” The truth ran a distant second to Stone’s inventions.

De Palma and Stone talk about art but their work is propaganda to blow-torch viewers’ minds. Kennedy’s assassination and the war in Iraq have left scars on the American psyche that are bad enough without the self-righteous, self-serving efforts of Hollywood “artists” to dig into them with their overheated imaginations.

Coppola told us truths about Vietnam in “Apocalypse Now,” but he didn’t call it journalism.

If the media have whitewashed Iraq, what purpose is served by a blackwashed version? Where are the shades of gray? If he read the polls, De Palma might see that most Americans don’t need him hammering at them to understand what has been going on in Iraq.

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