Just Above Sunset
March 7, 2004 - Will Mel Gibson Conquer France Too? (and a few other odd items)
Jerry Lewis, not Mel Gibson
Let’s see here. It seemed for a time that the French would not soon see Mel Gibson’s new movie,
“The Passion of the Christ.” They seem to think Mel’s a bit
strange. One of the French national newspapers, Libération, described
Gibson's faith as "a Shi'ite version of Christianity ... imbibed with blood
and pain" which "reduces the message of Christ to his death by torture".
According to Libération the film legitimized anti-Semitism. "The
cult of the martyr is a dangerous combustible in which fanatics burn. It can
feed intolerances and religious wars."
French cinema chains are refusing to distribute or screen Mel Gibson's controversial film The
Passion of the Christ because of fears that it will spark a new outbreak of anti-Semitism.
In short, Gibson would
call them moral cowards.
Now a string of major distributors have signalled they are not interested in the film. "We could have asked to see it but we haven't," said Jean-Claude Borde, director of Pathe Distribution. "The subject doesn't interest us. Usually
we acquire the rights to a film well in advance after reading the screenplay, but with Gibson it's not our cup of tea."
So they’ll watch
Jerry Lewis but don’t want to see Gibson’s Jesus-splatter-film.
A group of traditional Catholics has formed a pressure group to attempt to force a French distributor
to take up the film. Daniel Hamiche, a publisher and journalist, who has founded
Pro-Passion, a supporters group, said: "France, the older son of the Church, is the only country in Europe where still
today the film hasn't found a distributor. At first I believed they wanted to
see how the film would do at the box office. Now, with the success of the film
in America, I don't really understand why they are not snapping up - unless it's self-censorship."
After Hitler and the trains
heading east to the ovens, well, they might be a bit sensitive, don’t you think?
French Jews fear that if M Hamiche's campaign is successful, anti-Semitic beliefs will spread. Patrick Klugman of the Committee Representing Jewish Institutions in France said:
"The most important progress made against anti-Semitism in the 20th Century was achieved at Vatican II when the reference
to the responsibility of the Jewish People in the catechisms was repealed.
Yes, in 1965 the Second Vatican Council, during the papacy of Paul VI, the church decided that while some Jewish leaders and their followers had pressed for the death of Jesus, "still, what happened in his passion cannot be charged against all Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today."
So the populist back-to-the-traditional
Catholics side with Gibson, who broke from the Catholic Church because of Vatican II, and the Jews of France are busy defending
Pope Paul VI and what he was up to in the mid-sixties, being forgiving and inclusive and all those sorts of things –
that stuff Gibson hates.
Mel Gibson gets his audience in France…
Well, the matter has been
settled as I see from a scan of items from l'Agence France-Presse (AFP) by way of The Tocqueville Connection.
PARIS, Feb 29 (AFP) - Mel Gibson's controversial film "The Passion of the Christ" will be shown
in France despite rumours that it could not find a distributor, the Journal du Dimanche newspaper reported Sunday.
It is? Unacceptable?
On a lighter note, I did also come across this:
PARIS, March 3 (AFP) - Nostrils were twitching at Paris railway stations Wednesday as olfactory
advertisements wafted the scent of rosemary over commuters to remind them of the joys of holidays in the south.
Will we catch a whiff of
similar promotions in the subways of New York and Boston? Perhaps a strategic
puff of nitrous oxide mixed with taco spices to make you think of visiting Los Angeles?
PARIS, March 3 (AFP) - The French government is being blackmailed by a previously-unknown group
which has planted at least one bomb on the country's railway system and is demanding a ransom of more than five million dollars,
the interior ministry said Wednesday.
Actually this is quite refreshing. Not much of a political agenda here, and certainly no fanatical religious agenda either – these guys just want the money. Quite straightforward, isn’t it?
Perhaps this group could ask for a bit more if they identified themselves with some religion or other, or against some religion or other. “Entrepreneur” may be a French word, but these guys need to get with the program.
This issue updated and published on...
Paris readers add nine hours....