Kathryn Bigelow defends "Zero Dark Thirty" against critics in L.A. Times Op-Ed

The filmmaker lays out her personal and political views on torture and the film

By Prachi Gupta
January 16, 2013 9:00PM (UTC)
main article image

The torture scenes in "Zero Dark Thirty," Kathryn Bigelow's cinematic depiction of the CIA's hunt for bin Laden, have incited such rage in recent weeks that the Senate has launched an investigation into the CIA's relationship with the filmmaker, and an academy member has called for the film's boycott. Despite the tremendous backlash, Bigelow has consistently defended the film and its portrayal of torture, arguing that "ZDT," though heavily researched, is ultimately not a work of journalism.

Last night, the filmmaker took to the L.A. Times to deliver what critic Steven Zeitchik has called her "her most explicit comments on the controversy to date," revealing both her personal politics and the movie's intent:


First of all: I support every American's 1st Amendment right to create works of art and speak their conscience without government interference or harassment. As a lifelong pacifist, I support all protests against the use of torture, and, quite simply, inhumane treatment of any kind.

The filmmaker also surrendered her personal interpretation of the facts of the manhunt, offering a clear understanding of what she was trying to achieve with the film:

Experts disagree sharply on the facts and particulars of the intelligence hunt, and doubtlessly that debate will continue. As for what I personally believe, which has been the subject of inquiries, accusations and speculation, I think Osama bin Laden was found due to ingenious detective work. Torture was, however, as we all know, employed in the early years of the hunt. That doesn't mean it was the key to finding Bin Laden. It means it is a part of the story we couldn't ignore. War, obviously, isn't pretty, and we were not interested in portraying this military action as free of moral consequences.

Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at pgupta@salon.com.

MORE FROM Prachi GuptaFOLLOW prachiguLIKE Prachi Gupta

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Kathryn Bigelow La Times Movies Torture Zero Dark Thirty