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45th NYFF: De Palma ‘redacted’ but hoping to be unredacted

It’s a reoccurring theme here in Hollywood: studio wrestles with filmmaker over the infamous final cut. But what is odd here is that it not the final cut but the final shot that is being disputed. This piece of youtube (via Well’s Hollywood-Elsewhere) features an angry filmmaker, a studio buyer and a protective and understanding film producer making it obvious that there will be some legal matters to take care of that will most likely push the release date a little back.      

The dispute here was during the press conference for Brian De Palma’s Redacted – the mention of a sabotaged film print and artistic freedom is at issue on one side, while from the studio vantage point it is all about not getting sued (a legitimate concern) via Magnolia’s buyer Eammon Bowles. The images in question (I’ve yet to see the film but will be doing so next week) are of the nature of the photographs – the end of film montage most likely shows bloodshed, death and dismemberment in the shape of 800,000 Iraqi casualties or the 4000 U.S military troops.

Both sides might agree to disagree – this mini dispute will effectively add a spark of controversy to a film that features zero A-listers and video appeal.    

Inspired by real events and the ever-emerging realities of an on-going war, REDACTED explores the consequences of placing a group of young American soldiers into a morally ambiguous universe. Pushed to their very limits, the film portrays the tragic events surrounding a US army squad that targets and persecutes an innocent Iraqi girl and her family, culminating in a brutal rape and murder. The film addresses the innocent casualties of war and reveals the general helplessness surrounding the war in Iraq. A fictional version of the truth, REDACTED forces the viewer to question the filters through which we see and accept events in our world. Ultimately, REDACTED begs the question: Once we know the truth, what is the value of war and the worth of all its tragedies?

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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