msnbc | January 26, 2013
>>> can i be honest with you? i am bad news. i'm not your friend. i'm not going to help you. i'm going to break you. any questions?
>> that's a scene from "zero dark thirty," the film about finding an killing osama bin laden . in it a number of controversial torture scenes. kathy big low the director of the film is now answering critics about the torture sceneses in a new interview with "time" magazine. jessica winter is the arts editor at "time" magazine that conducted that interview. she is here with me now. thank you for being here. how does she respond to the controversy?
>> she was expecting a controversy for sure. i don't think she was expecting the volume and vehemence of the controversy. she stands by the film whole-heartedly. she says depiction is not endorsement. by depicting these scenes she wasn't necessarily making a statement about the ethicsy of torture or morality of torture.
>> i guess questioning the accuracy, some members of congress are saying it didn't really happen like that. it's not really right. what does she say there? at some point weren't she and the filmmakers talking about it was a work of journalism and a work of fiction. we took editorial liberties. how does she handle that balancing act?
>> i spoke with former cia director michael hayden to the film. he felt the torture scenes inflated the abuses at guantanamo and abu graib with what went down at the cia black sites . there have been other criticisms. kathryn big low and mark bull, her screenwriter and a journalist himself stand by the reporting.
>> any politics, her own politics? some republicans coming out and saying it's opposed to show this in a better light or show this. she's not endorsing but she's trying to make some kind of a political statement about torture and the way we went about things, the u.s. goes about its business. did she say any of her personal politics creep into this movie at all?
>> she calls herself a pacifist. she says that torture is reprehensible. she has a very matter of fact dispassionate film making style. she doesn't make message movies. she's not going to underline or italicize. i think she leaves a lot of space for the viewer to make up her own mind. i think that space is what has allowed so much controversy to leak into the frame. i mean, every film is in the eye of the beholder . but this film is really in the eye of the beholder .
>> you're telling me she is a filmmaker first and foremost. this has been a part of the national debate for the past ten years. for her this was about making a film. she wasn't trying to get a national dialogue started. she was trying to make a good film.
>> i think that is absolutely correct. i think she and mark bull welcome the conversation that has happened around the film.
>> a lot of people cautioned as well, how did she get such good information? did she speak on what her sources were? how much access to information she got? did she get classified information ?
>> that i don't know. i mean, she and bull did have access and cooperation from the cia. but mark bull also had his own independent reporting. and obviously they have to be very discreet about what they got and who they got it from. and a lot of this information is still classified. so this is going to be debated for years or decades to come.
>> well, nice to know we have access to you get you back over here since we'll be talking about this for a while. jessica winter, arts editor at "time" magazine.