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“Redacted” Kicks Off Wave of Iraq Pics

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

Labor Day weekend marks the start of a frenzied campaign season, but also a breakneck pace of film festivals. And front and center will be Iraq-themed movies, starting with Brian De Palma’s “Redacted.” Debuting in Venice, it created more than a few headlines today for its depiction of the real-life killing and rape of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl by U.S. soldiers. The AP reports that the screening left some viewers in tears.

De Palma says he relied on the Internet — YouTube, soldiers’ blogs, etc. — for much of the material, that that the title refers to mainstream media’s withholding of information from the general public. “It’s all out there on the Internet, you can find it if you look for it, but it’s not in the major media. The media is now really part of the corporate establishment,” he said.

Also debuting is Paul Haggis’ Iraq-themed “In the Valley of Elah,” focusing on  the homefront and soldiers’ families.

With these pics and other political films, the challenge will be to actually draw audiences who have so far largely shunned current events at the multiplex. And though they may spur debate in some circles, especially with Congress once again taking up troop funding next month, my guess is that these pics will largely be preaching to the converted. That is still significant, but so far audiences haven’t seemed to respond to Iraq pics.

Snow Resigns: As expected, Tony Snow is resigning as White House press secretary.

Fred Still Flies: Apparently convinced that equal time rules don’t apply to cable networks, TNT plans to continue showing “Law & Order” reruns next week when Fred Thompson launches his presidential campaign.  NBC, however, will pull episodes featuring the Arthur Branch character.

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