5. Zero Dark Thirty (Kathryn Bigelow, 2012)
“Zero Dark Thirty” covers the decade-long hunt for Osama Bin Laden and his death by the hands of Navy SEAL Team Six in 2011. The incredible number of controversies arisen by “Zero Dark Thirty” should not be surprising due to the nature of its subject.
The partisanship controversy was a result of several opponents of the Obama administration who became outraged before the movie’s shoot began. They claimed that the movie was nothing but propaganda for President Obama’s re-election campaign.
They also claimed that director Kathryn Bigelow’s crew had access to classified information and were supported by the Obama administration. Related with such classified information, the film’s ambiguous depiction of torture was both praised and criticized. Some people regarded it as a censorship of torture while others were openly supportive of it.
4. La Vie d’Adèle (Abdellatif Kechiche, 2013)
A moving but raw depiction of discovery, love and loss, “La Vie d’Adèle” focuses on Adèle, an introverted teenager whose discovery of Emma, an endearing young woman with blue eyes, sets the guidelines of her identity as a woman and as an adult.
Controversy surrounded “La Vie d’Adèle” long before its critical acclaim. Originally, it arose due to the movie’s graphic 7-minute sex scene. Nonetheless, it later delved into stronger accusations.
Accused of being antifeminist and exploitative, director Abdellatif Kechiche got involved in a series of media confrontations with the movie’s stars Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux, who seemed to agree with the exploitation accusation.
3. Nymphomaniac (Lars von Trier, 2014)
Divided into two parts, this highly anticipated film depicts a self-tormented nymphomaniac’s account of her life. Somehow implied in “Antichrist” (Lars von Trier, 2009), “Nymphomaniac” is an ambiguous and openly mocking dialogue between the western cultural status quo and its feminist criticism.
Regarded as a movie of endless controversy, upon its release, “Nymphomaniac” was surrounded by commentaries about its widely acclaimed and contentious director, who announced it as “a movie about a woman who discovers her eroticism.”
Loved by some and hated by many others, von Trier seems to have wanted all the attention his movie raised, as the information about its story, cast and shooting was both carefully dosed and fragmentary.
In the days and weeks prior to its release, the film’s sex sequences announced what would unavoidably be added to its controversy, as an exploitative vagueness surrounding the limits of art and pornography.
2. A Serbian Film (Srdjan Spasojević, 2010)
“A Serbian Film” follows Miloš’s descent into cruelty and madness. A former porn star, Miloš agrees to participate in an ambiguous “art film” to overcome his financial problems. As his movie turns more and more degrading, Miloš finds the integrity of both himself and his family in distress.
One of the most brutal movies of the decade so far, “A Serbian Film” met a considerable amount of controversy due to its depiction of sexual violence.
While critics could not avoid pointing out the extremity of the movie’s sexual sequences, including some of bestiality and an infamous one of pederasty, director Srdjan Spasojević responded by comparing his movie to a Serbian allegory about “the monolithic power of leaders who hypnotize you to do things you don’t want to do”. “A Serbian Film” suffered banning and cut impositions in several countries.
1. The Interview (Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg, 2014)
A worthy successor of the talent that made Seth Rogen perhaps comedy’s leading figure in the late 2000s, “The Interview” is an acidic satire of the conflict between the US and North Korea. It follows two pop media celebrities (James Franco and Seth Rogen) who find themselves involved in a plot to kill Kim Jong Un after they get the chance to interview him about his conflict with the West.
“The Interview” reactivated controversial old debates and was even accused of irresponsibly attempting to start new global conflicts. It all began with responses from North Korea; its United Nations ambassador, for instance, called it “terrorist” and an “act of war”.
In November 2014, the computer networks at Sony Pictures were hacked by an anonymous group who leaked material, including the movie and a series of emails surrounding it. However, things reached their breaking point in December, when the hackers warned moviegoers by threatening to launch an attack at the movie’s theatrical release.
As a result, the movie’s premiere and release were cancelled and eventually delayed; President Obama made a statement, and Sony Pictures had to look for alternative ways to distribute the film.
Author Bio: Emiliano is an Ethics and Logicprofessor in a high school, his favorite directors are Gaspar Noé, Lars von Trier, Stanley Kubrick and Wim Wenders.