Saturday 16 February 2008

Taxi to the Dark Side

Watch out for the documentary Taxi to the Dark Side.

It's directed by Alex Gibney best known for Enron:The Smartest Guys in the Room. Its Australian producer Eva Orner has been nominated for an Oscar.

The documentary examines how the Bush Administration sanctioned the use of torture in the war on terrorism. It is about an Afghan taxi driver named Dilawar who died in American military custody in 2002 after being deprived of sleep, suspended from a grated ceiling by his wrist and struck around the legs until he could no longer stand.

Eve told Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald why the documentary matters. "It's really important that we've made a film basically suggesting that [the Administration] are a bunch of war criminals and that they should be accountable," she said. "What they've done is outrageous. They're messing with the rule of law. They're messing with habeas corpus. They're messing with the Geneva Convention."

The film has attracted glowing reviews for its American cinema release. The New York Times reviewer called it "one of the really pivotal, indispensable documentaries of this decade".

America’s documentary makers have also been focusing on the country's involvement in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Taxi To The Dark Side is up against two more of them at the Oscars, No End In Sight and Operation Homecoming, as well as Moore's Sicko, on the health care system, and War/Dance, about children surviving in war-torn Uganda.

I hope that the Australian, David Hicks, who spent five years in solitary confinement will able to tell his story soon. Somehow, I think we will be totally shocked but not surprised.