February 22, 2007

Interview. Rory Kennedy.

Ghosts of Abu Ghraib Following its premiere at Sundance, Rory Kennedy's Ghosts of Abu Ghraib sees its television debut tonight on HBO. Michael Guillén's first question for Kennedy indirectly touches on a show that's sure to reap higher ratings: "Do you have any thoughts about the value of documentary as a corrective or instructive ameliorative against fictionalized torture porn?"

Particularly since Jane Mayer's profile of producer Joel Surnow in the New Yorker, it's a question being raised more and more urgently, and Kennedy doesn't hesitate a moment to pinpoint a direct correlation: "If you go to Iraq and somebody's torturing somebody like they torture them on 24, it's obviously inspired by that television show."

The series warrants a dishonorable mention in Alessandra Stanley's review of Ghosts in the New York Times as well. The problem with the show, she writes, "is not that it justifies torture but that it fosters the illusion that the American government is good at it." As for Ghosts, "the raw material never ceases to shock. How is it that a government that took such bold steps to reinterpret the Geneva Conventions and update the rules of combat did not pay closer attention to how its policy changes were carried out on the ground? The Pentagon didn't even manage to shield the worst excesses from public view."

Related: Michael Fox interviews Kennedy for SF360; and Kennedy's also a guest on the Leonard Lopate Show.

Online viewing tip. Rory Kennedy's entry at the Huffington Post.

Earlier: "Sundance. Ghosts of Abu Ghraib."

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Posted by dwhudson at February 22, 2007 12:40 AM