“I wanted to put my arm around him and say “it’s going to be OK,” which is this crazy thing we say in English. I remember thinking “but it’s not going to be OK.” And that’s what he’s going through now: the horror of realizing that somehow he’s damned, that he has destroyed himself.”
It would be perverse to visit the killers on behalf of the thousands that were killed and then lead them toward redemption. There is no redemption in the end. It’s an anti-catharsis.
I would always condemn the crimes that these men had committed and were still committing through extortion and so forth, but one of my main principles was that I should never condemn them as a whole person.
I expected to make a film that involved a great many people, but at some point I shifted from what had happened—how people had been killed—to how had this whole society (and normality) been built on terror and lies and mass graves.
The residents of Beijing’s Songzhuang Artists’ Colony like to roam and love to drink, and when they combine the two, they need a ride home.
Although he relies on their patronage to make a living, Lao Jin doesn’t keep his distance from those he chauffeurs—he banters and badgers, shares financial worries, offers uncanny pop-criticism of their work, asks for prints, and promotes their cause to anyone who will listen.
“Understand?” he asks a baffled onlooker at a “happening,” as one artist busies himself stacking bricks and another strips naked and scrapes his ass across a road sign. “If you don’t, watch and learn.”
First, Rouse Fear. From its opening scene, Zero Dark Thirty equates our post-9/11 fears with the need for torture. The movie begins in darkness with the actual heartbreaking cries and screams for help of people trapped inside the towers of the World Trade Center: “I’m going to die, aren’t I?… It’s so hot. I’m burning up…” a female voice cries out. As those voices fade, the black screen yields to a full view of Ammar being roughed up by men in black ski masks and then strung up, arms wide apart.
The sounds of torture replace the desperate pleas of the victims. “Is he ever getting out?” Maya asks. “Never,” her close CIA associate Dan (Jason Clarke) answers. These are meant to be words of reassurance in response to the horrors of 9/11. Bigelow’s first step, then, is to echo former Vice-President Dick Cheney’s mantra from that now-distant moment in which he claimed the nation needed to go to “the dark side.” That was part of his impassioned demand that, given the immense threat posed by al-Qaeda, going beyond the law was the only way to seek retribution and security.
Winner of the Silver Bear for best director for Christian Petzold at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival, Barbara works in the same territory as the 2007 Oscar winner The Lives of Others. But Barbara is a lot quieter, with an even greater edge-of-the-seat quality.
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