Relaciones Internacionales – Comunicación Internacional

Zero Dark Thirty. La Noche más Oscura

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K Bigelow TIME

K Bigelow. Portada de TIME Magazine 4 de feb 2013

Tras seguir de cerca durante años el pulso de Osama Bin Laden con los servicios secretos occidentales, casi llegué a perder toda esperanza de que lo encontraran con vida.

El destino de otros dirigentes o terroristas demonizados, muchos con razones de peso, por Occidente me llevaba a admitir cualquier desenlace:  asesinato, accidente, detención… incluso algún apaño de reconciliación. Después de todo, Arafat, enemigo número 1 de Israel durante muchos años, acabó compartiendo el Nóbel de la Paz con dos dirigentes israelíes. El final de Milosevic en una cárcel de La Haya nada tuvo que ver con el de Sadam Husein en la horca, a pesar de que ambos fueron declarados criminales de guerra y acusados de crímenes contra la humanidad.

Por ello, la noticia de la muerte de Bin Laden en una operación relámpago de fuerzas de elite estadounidenses a primeros de mayo de 2011 entraba dentro de las posibilidades contempladas en cualquier análisis. No así que el cofundador de Al Qaeda llevase años viviendo a pocos metros de la principal academia militar pakistaní, en la ciudad de Abottabad.

La operación, citada a partir de entonces por el equipo Obama como el éxito más importante de su primer mandato en política exterior y de seguridad, acabó llevándola al cine en 2012 Kathryn Bigelow. Tardé en ir a verla. Leí muchas críticas, la mayor parte de ellas positivas, sobre la forma y negativas sobre el contenido, sobre todo por el tratamiento de la tortura.

Hasta los más reputados think tanks de política internacional se incorporaron al debate. En el espacio Q & A de la Brookings, Benjamin Wittes hacía una dura crítica  de la supuesta fidelidad de la película a la operación de los US Navy Seals contra el principal responsable del 11-S.

De todas las críticas -llenarían una enciclopedia- destacaría la de Richard Cohen, On torture, a debate we need, publicada por el Washington Post el 29 de enero. En las primeras líneas deja clara su posición, que comparto en gran medida:

In retrospect, a better title for the terrific film “Zero Dark Thirty” would have been “Rorschach.” As with the famous ink blots developed by Swiss psychoanalyst Hermann Rorschach, some people look at the film and conclude that torture works, others conclude that it doesn’t, still others think the movie advocates torture, while some — and now we have gotten to me — don’t know what to think. I am implacably opposed to torture . . . unless it can save lives. This foggy position of confusion and ambiguity has been largely missing from the debate over the film. Everyone seems so sure of everything.

The rush for certainty started, I think, with the basso profundo statements from the filmmakers that the movie is — as the credits state — “based on Firsthand Accounts of Actual Events.” I have no idea what this means since the director, Kathryn Bigelow, and the screen writer, Mark Boal, concede that they used composite characters and have necessarily compressed the 10-year hunt for Osama bin Laden into a 2½-hour movie. Some things get left out, like truth.

En el número citado de TIME, Jessica Winter analizaba en un reportaje de seis páginas la vida y obra de Bigelow. Casi al final del reportaje, bajo el subtítulo THE IDEA OF THE HERO, escribía:

Zero Dark Thirty’s audiences have participated, to say the least, and they have raised vital questions about the film’s rights and wrongs and why it matters. But part of the negative response can be seen as the product  of Hollywood-movie-conditioning, the expectation that we should identify with a heroic protagonist, share her motivations, enjoy her successes and, above all, feel a sense of triumph as we walk out of the theater. The impulse, especially strong in the context of bin Laden’s assassination:  a purely black-and-white conclusion, with identifiable and unconflicted heroes assigned to the task, is irresistible.

Zillah Eisenstein, autora de numerosos trabajos sobre el feminismo en Norteamérica durante 30 años, publicaba el 21 de enero de 2013 en Al Jazeera una durísima crítica:  Dark, zero-feminism.

The film starts with a black blank screen and the voices from people stuck in the Trade Towers on that fateful day, September 11, 2001. I thought to myself: this is a set up to make sure we are lost to the saddened memory of that day, and the stance that we were wronged – and that this film will right this wrong.
This trope did not work for me, so the film did not work. I thought the story and its telling was corrupt. I thought it exposed US thuggery with no critique of it. I thought it screamed the revenge narrative of post- 9/11 with no regret, or hesitation, or ambiguity. Much of the controversy about the film has centred on the illegality of torture and the US government and CIA complicity in it. Film Director Kathryn Bigelow says the film merely sets out the record and does not condone or condemn. But this is not as it seemed to me.
Critics like Jane Mayer of the New Yorker, who has tracked torture memos for forever, begs to differ as well. She says the film normalises and naturalises the use of terror in American culture. Others have argued that the film misrepresents the success of getting information from the practice. I agree with Mayer but my take is also a bit different. I actually think that the film presents torture but does so in very careful and limited fashion. I had prepared myself for the scenes and was ready to divert my eyes when I could bare no more. But I never had to divert my eyes.
The audience was treated too kindly.We were not made to see the horrors of torture. There were glimpses and the rest was left for us to imagine, or not. We did not see the destruction of the human soul nor the horror of a broken human being. Torture leaves one no space to breathe. The fear is unrelenting. The humiliation is uncontrolled. If the film had been brave enough to really show us torture and its aftermath, there would be no condoning or normalising it.

Habiendo tratado durante años las relaciones entre el Pentágono y Hollywood en mi clase de Información y Conflicto en los cursos de posgraduado de periodismo y política internacional en la Complutense, lo primero que me llamó la atención fue la estrecha colaboración que Bigelow debió recibir de la CIA y del Pentágono para la producción de su película.

Un buen análisis de los precedentes de esa colaboración es el documental «Hollywood and the War Machine» emitido por Al Jazeera dos años antes en su programa EMPIRE.

http://youtu.be/v66HM5ILiwk

Volvamos al principio. ¿Cuánto hay de fidelidad a la verdad en ZF30? Más bien  poco. Amy Zegart lo explicaba mucho mejor de lo que yo podría hacerlo, pues el cine no es mi especialidad, en el siguiente análisis, publicado por Foreign Policy el 30 de enero de 2013: Not Just Another Movie.

 I recently took my favorite retired screenwriter (my husband) to see Zero Dark Thirty. For years, we have been sparring over creative license and historical accuracy in national security films. Usually our movie dates go something like this: he talks about plot development, character arcs, cinematography, and the power of silences.

I complain about what isn’t true and suggest a reading list of peer reviewed journal articles on the subject. When I told him the movie Deterrence should really be called Compellence (a better reflection of Thomas Schelling’s Nobel prizewinning work on the subject), he started seeing more movies without me.I fully expected him to walk out of ZD30 issuing a ringing defense of director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal, hailing the importance of artful storytelling, and underscoring the prevailing Hollywood view that movies are not real life and everyone knows the difference.Boy was I wrong.

For the first time in more than a decade of Screenwriter vs. Professor, we agreed. Mr. Creative License felt as strongly as I did that Zero Dark Thirty deceptively posed as objective and journalistic when it was nowhere close.

Por razones en las antípodas de las citadas por Amy Zegart, la mayor parte de los pakistaníes, que han acudido en masa a ver el film de Bigelow, cree que todo es un montaje. Michele Langevine Leiby lo explicaba el 4 de febrero de 2013 en ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ a hit in Pakistan, despite being seen as ‘a pack of lies’, publicado por el Washington Post:

Many Pakistanis – in the public, political leadership and the military – were outraged by the unilateral raid, and don’t dispute that it happened. But many tend to embrace conspiracy theories. Some people here insist that bin Laden died years before the May 2, 2011, operation. In conversations with Americans, they raise questions such as, Where’s the proof bin Laden died that night? Where are the photos of his corpse? Why is America refusing to release the photos?

En un país cuyos políticos y líderes religiosos culpan sistemáticamente a otros -los EE.UU., Israel, India…- de casi todos sus problemas, la operación contra OBL se recibió como una humillación nacional.

That might account for any tendency by the public to just shrug off the killing as fiction, but there’s no way to know with certainty how widespread this is.
The Pakistani government and military of course don’t dispute the fact of the raid. But the government has yet to make public the results of the official “Abbottabad Commission” probe launched in June 2011 and reportedly submitted to the prime minister about a month ago.

FRONTLINE

WATCH: How the CIA Helped Make “Zero Dark Thirty”

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