The Uninspired Manifesto

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Debate Rages Over 'Lake Of Fire'

Director Tony Kaye made a name for himself with the highly controversial film 'American History X', and is back again with another movie that's already pissing people off, 'Lake Of Fire', which is currently running in limited release here in the US. If you haven't heard of the film yet, it follows the evolution of the abortion debate over the last 15 years, in graphic detail. Agence France Press had this to say about the film. (Links courtesy of Talk To Action)
"Lake of Fire," currently on limited release in the United States, unwinds over more than two and a half hours of interviews with some of the leading figures from the pro-life and pro-choice camps.

But it is the graphic and disturbing depiction of termination procedures, filmed like the rest of the movie in black and white, that marks the film out.


One scene depicts a doctor sifting through a surgical tray after performing a late-term abortion, where the grisly residue of an arm, a foot and part of a face can be clearly made out.

"It's about as shocking as any motion picture can ever get. It's illegal to film someone being killed," said Kaye.

They may be the kind of images used by anti-abortion activists, but Kaye also doesn't shy from showing pictures of a kneeling and bent-over naked woman who died after performing a botched abortion on herself with a wire coat hanger.

Kaye worked for more than 15 years on "Lake of Fire" -- anti-abortion activist John Burt's description of the hell awaiting abortionists -- and said his goal when he set out was simply to show both sides of the argument.

"The concept was to make a film about the debate over the issue of abortion but to make it a non-propagandist way and to create a kind of war of words."

Of course, pro-life activists are concerned about the film's graphic portrayal of religiously inspired domestic terrorism. has a detailed article on reactions to the film so far.
Audience members' reactions were equally mixed. Many told that they thought the film was a balanced look at the issue, while others insisted it was largely "anti-abortionist" and some even said it was "very liberal."

More than a few viewers said they had to look away during the movie, which one person called "very difficult to watch."


"This was not a balanced portrayal of the issue," said Carol King, former National Organization for Women board member and abortion-rights activist, who has seen the documentary. "One of the things that has upset me more than anything else is the [comparison] of the anti-choice extremists to pro-choice activists. I have never encouraged in any way to kill people with whom I disagree."


"It's important for people to know what an abortion is," said Dr. Wanda Franz, the president of the National Right to Life Committee, who has not yet seen "Lake of Fire." "These graphic photos remind people that every abortion kills a living human and so for that reason, we think it's important for people to know the truth about abortion. Seeing it in a film like this is important for educational purposes."

When asked whether she thought extremist anti-abortion activists like the ones depicted in Kaye's film barricading doors of abortion clinics reflected poorly upon the anti-abortion movement, Franz said that sometimes such protests are useful to promote their cause.

"There are times that it's very helpful when [the protest] is in conjunction with political efforts," said Franz. "We're not represented in the movie and I think what you see in the film does not reflect our methods. We do other things — it's important to do education, legislation and political action."

King, who said she has witnessed several abortions and spent time as a "operation rescuer" whose job it was to ensure women were able to enter clinics safely, said that the methods used by anti-abortion groups have been discussed at length by abortion-rights organizations that have never been able to justify the use of images as graphic as the ones shown in Kaye's film.

I definitely take a pro-choice stance, but whether this film leans to one side or the other (which from what I've read, it really doesn't) it's going to be important to see, if only to be more informed on the issue. Of course, there are some legitimate reasons to disagree with abortion, but forcing your views, especially those based on your stupid religion, on others by fucking fire-bombing Planned Parenthood is not only insane, but much worse than anything going on inside one of those clinics.
posted by Nick at 9:23 PM


I just saw the movie this week and it was very interesting. I thought that it helped to see the issues that are taking place for both sides. I think that it focused on the extremes of both sides. I would have liked to see some people who were pro life but weren't crazy. I don't know many people that would agree with some of the actions taken by pro-life people and I wish they would have shown normal people who are involved in the issue from both sides. It was a really good film though. Have you seen it yet and what did you think?

October 16, 2007 at 3:35 PM  

I haven't had a chance to see it yet, but I plan to as soon as possible.

October 17, 2007 at 12:39 PM  

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