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By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

AMPAS Member David Clennon Makes A Public Appeal To Shun Zero Dark Thirty

“I’m a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Motion Picture Academy clearly warns its members not to disclose their votes for Academy Awards. Nevertheless, I firmly believe that the film Zero Dark Thirty promotes the acceptance of the crime of torture, as a legitimate weapon in America’s so-called War on Terror. In that belief, following my conscience, I will not vote for Zero Dark Thirty in any category. I cannot vote for a film that makes heroes of Americans who commit the crime of torture.”

11 Responses to “AMPAS Member David Clennon Makes A Public Appeal To Shun Zero Dark Thirty”

  1. Guerilla2001 says:

    As a former soldier, I would recommend you talk to those who have endured the brutality of POW status. You know, our guys who have experienced torture. You know, the way Kathryn Bigelow and her team did. Then comment on whether the movie “endorses” torture

  2. Mike z says:

    And Guerilla2001, I as a former soldier ask you to ask yourself what kind of treatment soldiers are in for now. Knowing what America has done they will make their lives are in captivity will be much worse because their captors know America endorses torture. You’re a disgrace to POW’s.

  3. David Poland says:

    America no longer endorses torture. But it did. Are we supposed to pretend it never happened? Does forgetting history bode well for our future?

  4. CinemaPsycho says:

    Does it matter at all that Kathryn Bigelow herself says the film doesn’t endorse torture? Showing something on screen doesn’t necessarily equal endorsement of it. If that were the case, Silence of the Lambs would be an endorsement of cannibalism. Psycho would be an endorsement of matricide. Scarface would be an endorsement of drug abuse. Just because a film is showing you what happened doesn’t mean the film is saying, “this is right and everyone involved with the film agrees with this.” To believe that about any film, whether it be a historical drama or a horror film, is a ridiculously literal reading of a film. Would you prefer that Bigelow and company simply whitewashed history rather than letting people make up their own minds about what happened? Then everyone would respond by saying, “Oh right, what about all the TORTURE – have we conveniently forgotten about that suddenly?” You can’t have it both ways. I respect Mr. Clennon as an actor, but I find his argument to be ludicrous.

  5. Erik Riley says:

    Poor David Clemmons. Can’t make it as an actor, not relevant enough for anyone to give a damn about, but knows that by “staging” his protest of a film nominated for best picture, he’ll get his name in the news again. What a pathetic excuse for “activism”. **barf**

  6. Mike z says:

    Cinemapsycho you are a dolt. Bigelow is the one who is whitewashing history. You’re missing the whole point. Nobody objects to the torture in the movie its the fact that torture had nothing to do with finding Osama but Bigelow shows that it did. The scene where they give the captive food and cigarettes shows he’s talking because he’s afraid of being tortured again. The info he gives had already been obtained without torture. Do some research before you start spouting off stupidity.

  7. David Poland says:

    A strongly as you believe what you are saying, Mike z, at the time of UBL’s death, the head of the CIA acknowledged that “enhanced interrogation” did play a role in finding bin Laden.

    A year later, a Senate committee decided, after torture had been eliminated by a new administration, that torture never worked in any way shape or form.

  8. Mike z says:

    Well David what else would he say. Of course he has to say that it worked or else he might set himself up for some possible future criminal prosecution. He’s the head of the CIA and they never protect their ass right? But if you want to go in this direction you forget to mention the numerous CIA agents who have stated on record that were witnesses or had direct involvement that enhanced interrogation did not give reliable info.

    David, everyone without a conflict of interest who has had access to the full documents said that torture did not play a role in any way to capturing Bin Laden. Why can’t you accept that.

    FACT: All important info that led to the capture of Bin Laden was obtained though non torture interrogation before torture interrogations started. Stop wanting to believe something that has been proven to not work at all.

    They water boarded Zubaydeh 83 times in one month and did he not give up one piece of vital info. “However, in September 2009, the United States Government finally admitted, during Abu Zubaydah’s habeas corpus petition, that Abu Zubaydah had never been a member of al-Qaeda, nor involved in the attacks on the African embassies in 1998, or the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001″.

    Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 187 times and all they got was a confession that he was part of the 9/11 attacks ( which doesn’t seem so much a confession, more like an act of defiance).

    Yet the world is wise to what America has done and the repercussions to Americans and American soldiers will be seen in future conflicts

  9. Joe says:

    Wait. Who is this guy and how does he rate AMPAS membership? How did he get in? I looked up “David Clennon” on IMDB and barely found anything at all, much less anything meretricious. The buried lead here might be another story about the Academy’s sorry admission system.

  10. It has been well established that the U.S. during the Bush Administration and even before engaged in torture at Abu Ghraib, Guantánamo Bay, and at so-called overseas black sites as shown in the film, and even taught enhanced interrogation techniques (a euphemism for torture) to Latin American military officers at the School of the Americas now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.

    And extraordinary renditions apparently continue to this day under the Obama administration. These are secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to overseas black sites like those shown in the film where torture is used.

    The criticism of the film seems to have started with a letter that Senators Feinstein, Levin, and McCain wrote to Sony Pictures Entertainment calling the movie “grossly inaccurate and misleading in its suggestion that torture resulted in information that led to the location of Usama bin Laden.” Senator Feinstein now wants the CIA to detail its contributions to the film Zero Dark Thirty, and even wants the filmmakers to include a disclaimer indicating the film is fiction, only based on a true story.

    In my opinion, “Zero Dark Thirty” does not advocate or excuse torture or that torture is effective. Clearly, the CIA and the Bush Administration accepted torture as a legitimate interrogation technique and the film realistically depicts some of these torture techniques such as waterboarding and sleep deprivation in a realistic manner. Reading about waterboarding is not as unsettling as seeing it realistically depicted on the screen. Does telling like it was equal excusing these techniques? I think not.

    I agree with the Director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal who countered Senator Feinstein’s accusation that torture worked in the manhunt for Osama bin Laden, “The film shows that no single method was necessarily responsible for solving the manhunt, nor can any single scene taken in isolation fairly capture the totality of efforts the film dramatizes.”

    And remember, the filmmakers had the full cooperation of the CIA, the Pentagon, and the White House in the making of the film. Given this country’s use of torture in the past, I for one tend to believe that the film’s depiction of torture of prisoners is accurate. If a viewer needs the filmmaker to tell you the realistic depiction of torture is illegal and immoral, then there is something wrong with the viewer, not the filmmaker.

    Actors Clennon, Asner, and Sheen — knowingly or not — have become shills for a campaign to divert attention away from the bad old days of torture by discrediting the film — a shoot the messenger approach if you will. Hopefully, the rest of the Academy members will disregard these actors and fairly asses the merits of the film.

  11. David S says:

    You are certainly entitled to your opinion. Please spare us
    any further opinions as to whom or what you may vote for in the future or may not have voted for in the past. This should include High School Class President, football team captains, or American Idol Contestants. As you mentioned, this is a ‘secret vote’… perhaps you would be better suited for a ‘show of hands’ vote immediately after each screening of the films in the Goldwyn Theatre. The vote you cast for the film is for the FILM and not the specific aspects of the war and the elements of warfare. I think we all agree that WAR IS HELL!

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MAMET
Well, that, to me, is always the trick of dramaturgy; theoretically, perfectly, what one wants to do is put the protagonist and the audience in exactly the same position. The main question in drama, the way I was taught, is always what does the protagonist want. That’s what drama is. It comes down to that. It’s not about theme, it’s not about ideas, it’s not about setting, but what the protagonist wants. What gives rise to the drama, what is the precipitating event, and how, at the end of the play, do we see that event culminated? Do we see the protagonist’s wishes fulfilled or absolutely frustrated? That’s the structure of drama. You break it down into three acts.

INTERVIEWER
Does this explain why your plays have so little exposition?

MAMET
Yes. People only speak to get something. If I say, Let me tell you a few things about myself, already your defenses go up; you go, Look, I wonder what he wants from me, because no one ever speaks except to obtain an objective. That’s the only reason anyone ever opens their mouth, onstage or offstage. They may use a language that seems revealing, but if so, it’s just coincidence, because what they’re trying to do is accomplish an objective… The question is where does the dramatist have to lead you? Answer: the place where he or she thinks the audience needs to be led. But what does the character think? Does the character need to convey that information? If the answer is no, then you’d better cut it out, because you aren’t putting the audience in the same position with the protagonist. You’re saying, in effect, Let’s stop the play. That’s what the narration is doing—stopping the play… It’s action, as Aristotle said. That’s all that it is—exactly what the person does. It’s not what they “think,” because we don’t know what they think. It’s not what they say. It’s what they do, what they’re physically trying to accomplish on the stage. Which is exactly the same way we understand a person’s character in life—not by what they say, but by what they do. Say someone came up to you and said, I’m glad to be your neighbor because I’m a very honest man. That’s my character. I’m honest, I like to do things, I’m forthright, I like to be clear about everything, I like to be concise. Well, you really don’t know anything about that guy’s character. Or the person is onstage, and the playwright has him or her make those same claims in several subtle or not-so-subtle ways, the audience will say, Oh yes, I understand their character now; now I understand that they are a character. But in fact you don’t understand anything. You just understand that they’re jabbering to try to convince you of something.
~ David Mamet

INTERVIEWER
Do you outline plays before you start to write them?

PINTER
Not at all. I don’t know what kind of characters my plays will have until they…well, until they are. Until they indicate to me what they are. I don’t conceptualize in any way. Once I’ve got the clues I follow them—that’s my job, really, to follow the clues.

INTERVIEWER
What do you mean by clues? Can you remember how one of your plays developed in your mind—or was it a line-by-line progression?

PINTER
Of course I can’t remember exactly how a given play developed in my mind. I think what happens is that I write in a very high state of excitement and frustration. I follow what I see on the paper in front of me—one sentence after another. That doesn’t mean I don’t have a dim, possible overall idea—the image that starts off doesn’t just engender what happens immediately, it engenders the possibility of an overall happening, which carries me through. I’ve got an idea of what might happen—sometimes I’m absolutely right, but on many occasions I’ve been proved wrong by what does actually happen. Sometimes I’m going along and I find myself writing “C. comes in” when I didn’t know that he was going to come in; he had to come in at that point, that’s all.
~ Harold Pinter

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