Redacted (2007): De Palma’s Hot Potato

Issues of inhuman decisions and legal compromises were raised by journos at the press conference for helmer De Palma’s “Redacted,” a digitally-shot dramatization of an American platoon in Iraq that culminates with the brutal rape and murder of a 15-year-old Iraqi girl and her family.

“The lawyers kept coming at us with disclaimers all the time. We would get a new version of the disclaimer every week,” said De Palma, who drew much of the film’s plot from research he conducted on the Internet.

His harrowing picture, which lensed in Jordan, also features a beheading, images of Iraqi civilians mowed down by American machine guns and an American soldier’s body blown to shreds by an I.E.D. The film’s final scene features a montage of censored pictures of dead and wounded Iraqis from the conflict.

“The movie attempts to bring the reality of what happened in Iraq to the American people,” said De Palma. “Unlike Vietnam, where we could see the images of destructions and Americans brought home in body bags, we haven’t seen these images from the Iraq war. These pictures exist but there’s no interest in them in the mainstream media, which is mainly owned by the corporate establishment. If we get these pictures in front of a mass audience, then maybe we can affect things.”

Though originally made for HDNet Films, “Redacted” has now been picked up for a theatrical release by U.S. distrib Magnolia Pictures.

De Palma said he hoped word of mouth would help boost U.S interest as picture is rolled out across the country in a limited release.


End Note

The Venice Festival’s grand jury awarded De Palma the Best Director trophy.