Brian De Palma Explains Himself

The divisive director's controversial new film is, he says, just one man's attempt to stop the war

There is one photograph that remains in full view. Staged and shot by New York photographer Taryn Simon, the film's final picture shows, in grisly detail, the image of a young corpse that's meant to be the murdered girl, Abeer Qasim Hamza. "It's staged, but it's a real death," maintains De Palma. "That little girl really died in that war. When you shoot the crucifixion of Christ, how do you represent it? You don't have the real Jesus, so you have to do artistic rendition."

De Palma's war
Magnolia Pictures
De Palma's war

For some, this final shot will muddle the power of the documentary pictures that precede it. But De Palma sees nothing wrong with distorting reality. "If they can do this for the last six to seven years and pursue an amoral war, shouldn't I have the right to tell the other side of the story— to tell a greater truth?"

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