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Shunning “A Mighty Heart”

That, and other news, in today’s Political Panorama.

Audiences have not taken to “A Mighty Heart,” to say the least, despite very good reviews and the presence of Angelina Jolie. Perhaps it is the release date — sandwiched between shoot-em-up toys and talking rats — that makes the movie feel so out of place. Or, if you buy into the counter-programming argument, perhaps it is that the public is still not ready to see the dramatization of 9/11 and its aftermath events on screen.

Like Universal did with “United 93,” which enjoyed slightly more success at the box office, Paramount Vantage can be expected to wage some sort of re-release or DVD push that will put it into Oscar contention. And they will have a very key endorsement from Judea Pearl, Daniel Pearl’s father, who wrote in general support of the film the New Republic last week. But in his essay, he did have one significant qualification.

“I am worried that A Mighty Heart falls into a trap Bertrand Russell would have recognized: the paradox of moral equivalence, of seeking to extend the logic of tolerance a step too far. You can see traces of this logic in the film’s comparison of Danny’s abduction with Guantánamo–it opens with pictures from the prison–and its comparison of Al Qaeda militants with CIA agents. You can also see it in the comments of the movie’s director, Michael Winterbottom, who wrote on The Washington Post’s website that A Mighty Heart and his previous film The Road to Guantánamo ‘are very similar. Both are stories about people who are victims of increasing violence on both sides. There are extremists on both sides who want to ratchet up the levels of violence and hundreds of thousands of people have died because of this.'”

Judea Pearl and his wife, Ruth, run the Daniel Pearl Foundation. And the film is based on the book by Pearl’s wife, Marianna.

How Vapid?: Pics like “The Transformers” aren’t necessarily free of political subtext. Helena Andrews of The Politico finds the film’s references to Bush, the War on Terror, etc.

Afghan Trip: Jude Law is shooting a documentary in Afghanistan, tied to Unicef for Peace Day on Sept. 21.

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