American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
An interrogator and a prisoner, alone in a room. The interrogator a man, the prisoner a woman. The country, unnamed. The charge: sedition. She has written a children's book that he believes is an allegorical attack on the state. He blindfolds her, assumes threatening personalities, browbeats her, plays mind games, and then moves along to various refinements of physical torture. She resists courageously. Being mistreated by men is nothing new for her. This very same man assaulted her when she was a child.
All it requires to make "Closet Land" complete is a pious screen note at the end of this story, assuring us that the torture of political prisoners continues all over our world today. The movie does not disappoint: The slogan appears right on schedule.
What is the politically correct response? To cry out with horror? To rush from the theater and devote my life to ending injustice? What are the makers of films like this hoping for? Their movies are never seen by the torturers, and bring no fresh news for the good of heart, who are already well aware of the corrupted world we inhabit. The movie seems intended for the already converted, as an exercise in self-congratulation. They can refresh their outrage.
The evil torturer in this movie is of course a white Western male, perhaps because he is a politically correct enemy, although most officially sanctioned torture today takes place in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and South America. The victim is of course a woman, although most political prisoners are men (in many of the countries where official torture prevails, women are not permitted sufficient freedom of movement to become politically dangerous). I am of course opposed to torture, but I preserve sufficient irony to be offended by the smugness of this film.