Friday, February 27, 2009

USF Human Rights Film Festival 2009: Taxi to the Dark Side

After attending the student film section of the festival, I decided to head to the cafeteria to curb my hunger pangs, making sure to get back to the theater in time for the screening of Alex Gibney's 2008 Oscar winning film for "Best Documentary Feature," Taxi to the Dark Side.

When I think about that movie, I don't even know where to start... probably because it was so long and there was so much information crammed into it. But the main focus of the movie was the story of Dilawar, an Afghani taxi driver who was wrongfully captured by the US military as a terrorist and eventually killed during his detainment. This story served as a frame to discuss the various US detainment camps, the torture methods used within them, and the political aspect to it all.

Truth be told, it was a gripping documentary. Audience reactions were heard left and right, from gasps in disgust at the gruesome imagery of the Abu Ghraib scandal to the rare laugh when a political figure's stupid decision or dialogue was mocked. The documentary lived up to its award-winning acclaim, though I must admit that it was a tad too long. Yes, there was so much information on the subject to convey, but you can only hold an audience's attention for so long. Perhaps it was my lack of sleep from the night before, but I found myself dozing in and out of sleep at around the hour and a half mark. Other than that, the film was a highly interesting watch that exposes a great atrocity in how the US military goes about its business "protecting America".

A candid picture of the director himself, Alex Gibney (on right):

Discussing human rights over coffee

And here's a link to the main page of the Human Rights Film Festival:

http://www.usfca.edu/mediastudies/hrw/films.html

More information on Taxi to the Dark Side:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxi_to_the_dark_side

2 comments:

Chris said...

jonny jonny jonny...

Nice blog (is that what you say?)

I havent seen this movie but from your description it sounds interesting...I mean a man wrongfully accused and killed. Thats a pretty big deal. And you say you found yourself bored??? I mean what feelings were going on in your head during the film. Were you outraged? Did it have an impact on you? I mean the whole point of a film like that is to leave a strong impression on the audience...what impression did you have?

But I can understand that there might have been too much content...that is often the case with documentarys. The director always has so much good footage and ends up cramming it in instead of cutting it down.

Well anyways...good job.

melstrikesback said...

It's interesting, I also thought there was too much information, but for a very different reason. I didn't think it was necessarily too long, instead I thought it took on too much. In it's efforts to discuss so many aspects of torture, I felt none of the ideas were really fleshed out enough.

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