Kathryn Bigelow’s films have often provided a lightning rod for political debate on both sides of the spectrum. Both conservatives and liberals have attacked her films “The Hurt Locker” and “Zero Dark Thirty” for being both pro-war and anti-war, celebrating torture and condemning torture. I have related my own views on the subject, particularly with respect to “The Hurt Locker,” but I wonder what the pundits will think of her recently announced new project, “The True American,” an anti-death penalty, pro-immigrant story of rehabilitation and forgiveness?
Based on the nonfiction book of the same name, the film will recount the story of Mark Stroman, a white supremacist, who murdered two immigrants in Texas immediately after 9/11, and a third man, who survived being shot in the head during Stroman’s spree: Raisuddin Bhuiyan, who is the “true American” of the film’s title. A Bangladesh Air Force veteran, who was working at a Dallas-area convenience store at the time of the killings, eventually forgave Stroman and attempted to save the killer from execution.
From the book’s website: “The True American traces the making of these two men, Stroman and Bhuiyan, and of their fateful encounter. It follows them as they rebuild shattered lives—one striving on Death Row to become a better man, the other to heal and pull himself up from the lowest rung on the ladder of an unfamiliar country. Ten years after the shooting, an Islamic pilgrimage seeds in Bhuiyan a strange idea: if he is ever to be whole, he must reenter Stroman’s life. He longs to confront Stroman and speak to him face to face about the attack that changed their lives. Bhuiyan publicly forgives Stroman, in the name of his religion and its notion of mercy. Then he wages a legal and public-relations campaign, against the State of Texas and Governor Rick Perry, to have his attacker spared from the death penalty.”