Rendition, the Movie

Document Date: October 19, 2007

Rendition: Fact or Fiction?

On October 19, 2007, the feature film Rendition, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Reese Witherspoon, Alan Arkin, Peter Sarsgaard, and Meryl Streep, opened nationwide. The film tells the story of an American family torn apart when the father, Anwar El-Ibrahimi, is kidnapped by the C.I.A. from a Washington, D.C., airport. Anwar is flown to North Africa, where he is held captive and brutally tortured.

On October 18, 2007, the ACLU and WITNESS co-hosted a screening of the film in New York City. Following the film, ACLU attorney Steven Watt interviewed Hood, Rendition screenwriter Kelley Sane and cast member Peter Sarsgaard.

Although Rendition is now a feature length film, the practice of extraordinary rendition is all too real. In the name of national security, the U.S. government is sponsoring torture programs that transcend the bounds of law and threaten our most treasured values. The ACLU has brought two lawsuits against the U.S. government and the airline that facilitates flight planning for C.I.A. renditions. The cases are El Masri v. Tenet, a lawsuit against former CIA director George Tenet on behalf of German citizen Khaled El-Masri, and Mohamed v. Jeppesen, a lawsuit against Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc.

Rendition screenwriter Kelley Sane, cast member Peter Sarsgaard and director Gavid Hood at the ACLU and WITNESS’s screening of the film.

El-Masri v. Tenet legal team with Rendition director Gavin Hood. From left to right: Steven Watt, Hood, Ben Wizner and Melissa Goodman.


ACLU attorney Ben Wizner (left) interviews Rendition
director Gavin Hood.
Watch the interview >>

Rendition poster courtesy of New Line Cinema

> Official Movie Site

> Supreme Court Declines Case of Innocent CIA Kidnapping Victim Khaled El-Masri (10/9/2007)
> ACLU Sharply Condemns Bush Administration’s Secret Torture Memos (10/4/2007)
> BLOG: Challenging Government Torture and Abuse

To learn more about the ACLU’s challenge to extraordinary rendition, go to:

> “Ghosts of Abu Ghraib”
> “The U.S. vs. John Lennon”
> “Shut Up & Sing”
> “Road to Guantánamo”
> “This Film is Not Yet Rated”

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