Alex Gibney’s new critically-acclaimed documentary Taxi to the Dark Side follows the path of Afghan taxi driver Dilawar, who was innocent of any terrorist ties but still “tortured to death by interrogators in the U.S. prison at Bagram Air Base.” It also examines the Bush administration’s torture practices at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has rejected Taxi’s poster, displayed to the right, as being “not suitable for all audiences.” The poster for the film simply shows two soldiers walking away from the camera, holding a hooded detainee between them. Variety notes that the military has also tried to censor the photo on the poster:
The “Taxi” ad art is actually an amalgam of two pictures. The first, taken by Corbis photographer Shaun Schwarz, features the hooded prisoner and one soldier. Another military figure was added on the left. Ironically, the original Schwarz photo was censored by the military, which erased his camera’s memory. The photographer eventually retrieved the image from his hard drive.
According to ThinkFilm, which produced the documentary, the MPAA objected to the “image of the hood.” Last year, the MPAA also censored the poster for the documentary The Road to Guantanamo, because it showed a detainee “hanging by his handcuffed wrists, with a burlap sack over his head and a blindfold tied around the hood.”
As Gibney notes, Taxi is “not a horror film.” It is “a documentary and that image is a documentary image.” ThinkFilm plans to appeal the MPAA’s ruling.
A look at some of the posters the MPAA has approved as “suitable for all audiences”: