JUMP CUT
A REVIEW OF CONTEMPORARY MEDIA

 

 

Notes

1. Articles on torture in Jump Cut over the past five years:

Jump Cut, No. 51, spring 2009:
Special section: documenting torture—
"Imagining torture" by Chuck Kleinhans. Survey of the fundamental political facts of torture in the present moment in U.S. history and a brief introduction to the visual imagination of torture in fiction film and television.
"Torture documentaries by Julia Lesage." With a close analysis of Taxi to the Dark Side, Standard Operating Procedure, and The Road to Guantanamo, Lesage analyzes the torture documentary in terms of genre structures, torture epistephilia, and affect.

Jump Cut, No. 52, summer 2010:
Special section: Reframing Standard Operating Procedure—Errol Morris and the creative treatment of Abu Ghraib—
"Introduction" by David Andrews. This conference report provides an analysis of the debates surrounding Errol Morris' Standard Operating Procedure and introduces the two conference panels on this documentary at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies in Los Angeles, with an emphasis on the panel moderated by Linda Williams.
"Feelings of revulsion and the limits of academic discourse" by Bill Nichols. Standard Operating Procedure was a monumental box office flop. Does that anything to do with the feelings of revulsion that it produced in one viewer?
"Speech images: Standard Operating Procedure and the staging of interrogation" by Jonathan Kahana. Drawing on the adjacent histories of U.S. war documentary and military psychiatry, Standard Operating Procedure provides its subjects with a powerful historical weapon: the confession that functions as an excuse.
“'Cluster fuck:' the forcible frame in Errol Morris’s Standard Operating Procedure" by Linda Williams.Williams defends Errol Morris' film through an examination of its framings, metaphorical and literal, arguing that even Lynndie England needs to be seen as an ethical being wrestling with her acquiescence to an unethical situation.
"Response" to papers and comments on Standard Operating Procedure by Irina Leimbacher

Special section on torture and horror film—
"Torture porn and surveillance culture" by Evangelos Tziallas. A group of "extreme horror" films, known collectively as "torture porn," let us contemplate the social and political ramifications of visibility, exploring the evolution of "the gaze" in the 21st century.
"Tortured logic: entertainment and the spectacle of deliberately inflicted pain in 24 and Battlestar Galactica" by Isabel Pinedo. 24 and Battlestar Galactica, two television series about our post-9/11 world, tackle the issue of torture from right wing and progressive perspectives, respectively, arriving at diametrically opposed positions.
"Cross-cultural disgust: some problems in the analysis of contemporary horror cinema, part 2: Public Toilet, Visitor Q" by Chuck Kleinhans. Film artists can expand cinematic disgust beyond shock and gross out. Fruit Chan rewrites human waste in a humanistic global framework while Takahisi Miike uses it for dark social satire.

Jump Cut. No. 50, spring 2008:
"Torture and the national imagination," Jump Cut editorial
[return to page 1]

2. Seven films meeting film criteria and used in the research study:
Syriana (Nozik et al. & Gaghan, 2006)
A Mighty Heart (Pitt et al. & Winterbottom, 2007)
The Kingdom (Mann et al. & Berg, 2007)
Rendition (Golin et al. & Hood, 2008)
Body of Lies (Scott et al. & Scott, 2008)
Green Zone (Bevan et al. & Greengrass, 2010)
Unthinkable (Weber et al. & Jordan, 2010)

Research criteria for this particular study:

  • Each film must have an “interrogational torture” scene, where someone is asking/demanding for information while the other side resists and demonstrates notable helplessness and/ or fear. More specifically, there is a marked tension between the two characters with the torture victim exhibiting physical signs of fear (e.g. whimpering, crying, begging). In contrast to this dynamic is “punishment,” where an individual is physically and/or mentally tortured, but no information is being sought. This distinction is important in distinguishing “torture” from punishment, whereas torture is a “dialogue” and punishment tends not to be. While some films contained torture (e.g. social isolation, physical beatings) in them, there was not always an explicit demand for information made in relation to the torture.
  • Each film must have a Middle Eastern/ United States conflict as one of the central themes in the film.
  • Each film must be a post 9/11 film and be released between the years 2001-2011.
  • Each Film must be fictional in nature.
  • Each film must be U.S. produced, directed and/or distributed by one of the major U.S. film producing/distributing companies (demonstrating that the film has permeated U.S. culture).
  • Each film must have grossed at least 5 thousand dollars “lifetime gross” according to www.boxofficemojo.com.
  • Each film must be recognized by www.boxofficemojo.com and www.imdb.com.
  • Each film must be recognized as a ”drama” according to www.imdb.com.

3. The use of “superego, id and ego” within the context of this paper, is in reference to the everyday, popular discussion about psychological drives. [return to page 3]

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