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Zero Dark Thirty: Bigelow and Boal respond to criticisms

Zero Dark Thirty

Story by Jack Foley

KATHRYN Bigelow and Mark Boal have hit back at criticisms of their movie, Zero Dark Thirty.

Speaking at the New York Film Critics’ Circle Awards on Monday night (January 7, 2013), where their film picked up trophies for best director and best picture, the duo took the opportunity during their acceptance speeches to address some of the issues surrounding the film.

In particular, the pair spoke of the forthcoming Senate investigation into the level of CIA access they were granted, and the comments by three senators – including former Presidential candidate John McCain – accusing the film of endorsing the use of torture.

Bigelow took the lead while receiving her best director prize, saying: “I thankfully want to say that I’m standing in a room of people who understand that depiction is not endorsement, and if it was, no artist could ever portray inhumane practices; no author could ever write about them; and no filmmaker could ever delve into the naughty subjects of our time.”

While screenwriter Boal followed up in greater depth when collecting the trophy for best film.

He said: “There’s been a lot written about this movie; some of it has popped off the entertainment page to the news page. And from time to time, some of you might have wondered if we would have liked to comment on some of that coverage, and the answer is yes.

“Let me just say this: there was a very interesting story on the front page of the New York Times today by Scott Shane, about a CIA agent who is now facing jail time for talking to a reporter about waterboarding.

“This gentleman is going to jail for that. And all I can say is that I read that story very closely. It sort of reminds me of what somebody else said when they were running for president, which is, ‘If this shit was happening to somebody else, it would be very interesting. For us, it’s quite serious.

“But nevertheless, I stand here tonight being extremely proud of the film we made… In case anyone is asking, we stand by the film… I think at the end of the day, we made a film that allows us to look back at the past in a way that gives us a more clear-sighted appraisal of the future.”

Both comments were greeted by applause from press and peers at the ceremony, which is one of several to have recognised Zero Dark Thirty as one of the best films of 2012, thereby placing it among the favourites to go on and win Oscar success.

The film opens in UK cinemas on January 25, 2013.

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