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NYFF: “Redacted.”

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"Tell me no lies."
Brian De Palma has attempted to give us the Iraq occupation’s answer to his 1989 "Casualties of War" in "Redacted," a "fictional documentary" about the rape of a 15-year-old Iraqi girl and subsequent murder of both her and her family by US soldiers. The wounds are fresher in the case of "Redacted," which is based on the March 2006 rape and murder of Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi, as well as images and characterizations based on blogs, YouTube videos and reports from the press — one might observe that we’re actually still in the process of gouging new wounds out. De Palma has already kicked up plenty of dirt with the film, which
premiered at Venice and instantly drew the ire of members of the
perma-angry right, most visibly Bill O’Reilly, who claimed it would incite presumably hitherto nonviolent young Muslim men
to blow themselves up in indie cinema-induced rage. (An O’Reilly
spokesperson later noted
that the pundit had only seen clips of the film.) Do we need a film
that portrays the troops in a negative light? Of course not. We don’t need
a film about anything; that idea that the world turns on whether or not
an event is committed to film or digital video and projected on a screen
is beyond arrogant.

What we do need are actors who can act, dialogue that makes basic concessions toward believability and some level of, you know, filmmaking, particularly in a work tromping into such a sensitive area. "The movie is an attempt to bring the reality of what is happening in Iraq to the American people," De Palma told reporters at Venice. But there are plenty of versions of that reality that have already made their way through the same arthouse theaters that De Palma’s film will — they’re called Iraq documentaries, and distributors run screaming from them because there are so many floating around the marketplace and festivals. The Iraq war is the most documented news event in history — not as freely by the American mainstream press (one of the film’s beefs) but by filmmakers, international press and the soldiers themselves. In the face of all that nonfiction footage, it seems fair to ask that a scripted film come up with something more than a maladroit array of limp "war makes monsters of us all" archetypes. Here’s the bookish one (Kel O’Neill), with glasses, reading "Appointment in Samarra." Here’s the Animal Mother clone (Patrick Carroll), from Louisiana, comparing his first kill to "guttin’ a catfish," while his sidekick, Evil Chris Farley (Daniel Stewart Sherman) gives us a millennial update of "Casualties of War"’s "what happens in the bush stays in the bush" — we’ll let you guess; it’s the ad slogan of a major American tourist destination. De Palma’s big idea is to have the film fake being a montage of footage from outsider sources, a soldier’s video diary, a French documentary, local news coverage, security cameras and web videos, but the voices are all just the filmmaker’s own, scarcely disguised. The one moment of genuine frisson comes from the film’s reenactment of taped beheading; De Palma has always known his way around gore.

We’ll give "Redacted" this — it’s been ages since we’ve felt as riled up over a film as we did shuffling out of this screening. To take on such a topic and then fumble it so badly reveals in De Palma either profound arrogance or a general contempt for the American people he’s apparently looking to inform. That the film will be prime, indefensible fodder for the next round of attacks on liberal, "out of touch" Hollywood is just the cherry on top.

"Redacted" screens October 10 at 6pm and October 11 at 9pm at Frederick P. Rose Hall. It opens November 16th in limited release from Magnolia.

+ "Redacted" (Magnolia)
+ "Redacted" (FilmLinc)

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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