Variety reports that those puritans of taste and moral do-goodedness known as the Motion Picture Association of America - without whose carefully scrutinized blessing relegates a filmmakers pride and joy to absolute obscurity - has decided that the one-sheet poster for the award-winning documentary, "Taxi to the Dark Side" is inappropriate for movie audiences to see.
The reason: the poster depicts an image of two US Soldiers leading away a prisoner wearing a hood.
In a statement to Variety's Anne Thompson, the MPAA said, "We treat all films the same. Ads will be seen by all audiences, including children. If the advertising is not suitable for all audiences it will not be approved by the advertising administration."
Gibney explained that the hood has become a world wide symbol of US prisoner abuses and the fact that the MPAA doesn't like it suggests a bigger issue than it just being seen by children:
"Removing the hood is the ultimate cover-up. (The U.S.) didn't use to do that sort of thing. Removing the hood sends the same message as the Bush administration with the CIA tapes. It's OK to do it, it's just not OK to show it."
Interestingly enough, the photo of the hooded prisoner that the poster image is based on was originally censored by the military and the photographer's memory card was erased. Luckily, he managed to retrieve the image from his hard drive and the photo was published.
"Taxi to the Dark Side" is produced and directed by filmmaker Alex Gibney who also did "Enron: the Smartest Guys in the Room. " and "No End in Sight." The film is an in-depth look at the torture practices of the United States in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, focusing on an innocent taxi driver who was tortured and killed in 2002.
It's scheduled for limited release January 18, 2008.