|Popular Underground Interview
||[Feb. 15th, 2008|05:46 pm]
Eli Roth Fans
Interview from popularunderground.com about the war in Iraq.|
Have you seen the movies Cabin Fever, Hostel or Hostel II? Well, no matter what your answer, Eli Roth is the writer and director of each of those films. Popular Underground's own Karma Jensen had the opportunity to speak with the horror mastermind about the war in Iraq and the media's reaction to it.
PUM: With the war in Iraq continuing as long as it has do you feel that there is a decline in interest by the American public, with not only the overall matter but more importantly the military personnel involved?
I think people are tired of hearing the same thing. It's not that we don't care about the war, it's that nobody, and I mean NOBODY, trusts the information that the government's sending us. We're getting first hand stories from the people we know who are returning and who are still stuck over there, and none of it lines up with what we were told for years on the news. So I think people are sick of this administration and wish there was someone in charge who had the genuine interests of the country at hand, and not the interests of the oil companies. It's disgusting.
PUM: What role do you feel the media is playing in this?
After Vietnam there was a real clampdown on any media allowed out to the public. I saw this when I started traveling internationally with "Cabin Fever" and got a very, very different picture of what was going on when I saw uncensored news. This is another reason there are violent movies, because people are thinking of all this stuff and we know it's being kept from us. The government is so concerned with winning a PR war that they don't want people to see how horrific it really is or there'd be more of a public outcry. So because they downplay it or report statistics so we see numbers and not images, people do not really have a realistic idea of how horrible this is. That essay by George McGovern in the Washington Post last week said that 4,000 Americans have died and an estimated 600,000 Iraqi people. It's genocide. And why are they over there? For what? War should be a last resort, but we were rushed into it
PUM: Should the public feel responsible to be more involved and/or more knowledgeable of the situation? If so, how?
I think people should speak up publicly about it, and vote these people out of office. You get what you vote for, and if you're lazy and you don't vote, you're going to get guys like Bush and Cheney and they're gonna bring in people like Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld. They should be tried for war crimes.
PUM: Do you feel after watching Redacted that we have an even bigger responsibility to be concerned with the men and women involved in the war and it's environment? Those involved in the true life crime were prosecuted, however, do you think preventative measures could have been, should have been taken to prevent the crimes in the first place?
I cannot comment on that because I've never been in a war zone, so I don't know what circumstances would lead to a situation like that. But films like Redacted are getting made in part because people just don't trust what they're seeing on the news. People I know, intelligent educated people, didn't believe anything we read about the Iran boat incident because we don't trust what we're being told. It's all done to rile us up against "the enemy." It's really frustrating. We have all these brave soldiers risking their lives for us, and you feel like it's all really being done for Bush and Cheney and their big business friends.
PUM: Do you feel that the wounded soldiers, whether physically or mentally are being properly cared for and/or treated?
NO. NOT AT ALL. England; other countries, they have programs for reintegration into society. My father is a psychoanalyst so I grew up knowing all about mental health and what people go through to integrate into society without having gone to war. We're not even allowed to see the bodies of soldiers on television on Memorial Day. Think of how sick that is. These people are damaged mentally and physically and we have no health care system or social system to help them get on with their lives. None. And we're the richest country in the world and we're free, BECAUSE of these brave soldiers. It's disgraceful.
PUM: What are your hopes for the resolution of the war?
I hope we can get our soldiers home in a way that allows Iraq to once again flourish as a culture. But nobody had any plan as to how we could accomplish this. It feels like it will never end.
PUM: What would you like to say to your fans in the military who are missing the comforts of home, family and friends to serve?
I want people to know that I do support our troops, and I believe very strongly in our military, and they have my deepest gratitude. Thank God for our military, the strongest army on the planet. But I feel like our military, like the country, like the economy, has been abused by power hungry people who just feed their own personal interests, and I feel for them. I want them all home safe, and I'm happy if my films can provide a mental break and a little entertainment while they're over there. I think the value of horror films is that it allows people to feel terror and fear in a controlled way that allows them to let it out, and they don't feel like a coward for having done it. The soldiers have to bury all these feelings of fear, and the movies are a healthy way to scream it out. These people are brave in ways I will never know, and I admire anyone who has the guts to get over there and defend our country. They should also know that many people here feel the way I do, that they're thinking of everyone over there and we want them home.
PUM: You have traveled extensively, what do you feel are the best traits of the United States and it's people?
Our sense of independence. For example, in some countries their governments used to support their movies and now no longer do, and their film industries have dried up. They all say, "The government won't support us anymore, it's a shame," and my reaction is, "None of us use the government to make our movies over here." Americans depend on themselves, and most other countries they get stuck at a certain economic level because they depend on their governments. We show them how it's done because they don't inherently think that way. Our freedom and independence is an amazing quality that the rest of the world greatly admires.
PUM: Any additional comments?
I always have more to say, but for now I'll just say that we're all thinking of you guys over there, and just because we are against the war, we are not against you. We feel for you and just hate to see your bravery wasted defending Dick Cheney's oil. We wish we could hear your stories personally but they censor the news from us. It's something we should all work to change immediately, but people can only do it with their votes.