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New genre: religious splatter pics?

I still haven't seen Mel Gibson's Passion and don't know whether I will, despite its status as a linguistic curiosity. Maybe if I make it a double feature with Life of Brian.

Given that Gibson's gamble is paying off at the box office, can imitators be far behind? In particular I think India, which already has a history of monstrously successful religious epics for the small screen and plenty of secular violence for the big one, would go in a big way for the hyperrealistic religious gore people say is the core of Gibson's Passion. You only have to browse a few Amar Chitra Katha comics to find plenty of material. And while Muslims are offended by pictorial representations of Muhammad, to the extent that movies about his life have been made without him appearing on screen, would that proscription apply to Muslim martyrs like Hussein?

Unfortunately, given the current state of religious extremism in India and the Muslim world, I fear that any trend toward graphic representations of religious conflict in those places would make the flap about alleged anti-Semitism in Gibson's movie seem like a walk in the park.

movies 2004.02.28 link


We dropped by the Union Square 14 this evening with half a mind to seeing the and quickly decided the phrenzied mobs changing money in the temple were too much for us: We saw the pleasant and personal "Big Fish" instead, with our feet up and row to ourselves. I think the review that had the most influence on me was the one in the Voice that said, in effect, "$25 million and you still spend the last 40 minutes think about how fake the gory makeup looks." That got me thinking about how ridiculous was Mel Gibson's turn in "Hamlet" and thinking, nah, probably not. I've already seen Mel being crucified in Lethal Weapon and Braveheart. He's a meathead. For controversial Jesus pics, I'm sticking with Scorsese's "The Last Temptation of (omit 'the') Christ." And there's always the book. _It_ doesn't dwell on the Grunewaldian details with pornographic obsessiveness. Why should a film treatment that purports to convey the truth of the matter?

Colin [cbrayton cxe blogalization punkto us] • 2004.02.29
Re: Bollywood and whatever the Arab equivalent might be (Abudhabiwood?): We saw a really delightfully B-wood influenced film from Egypt at the Walter Read a couple of years ago about the medieval philosopher Averroes, a sort of Galileo-like figure who debated with Avicenna (Ibn Sina) about reconciling faith and scientific reason. Complete with sinister Taliban assassins and people breaking into spirited song at odd moments.

Colin [cbrayton cxe blogalization punkto us] • 2004.02.29
Interesting note about the Averroes film. I see there's a play about the life of Hussein now onstage in Baghdad.

About religious incitement in India, I should have mentioned that Indian law permits the banning of any material deemed offensive to any religious community. That was the excuse for banning the Satanic Verses among many other things. I suppose there are those who would support such censorship on the pragmatic grounds that in India a little incitement often produces a lot of sectarian violence. There's a counterargument that such laws become self-fulfilling prophecies: reward people for killing their neighbors in the name of religious affronts and they'll keep doing it.

But given the current atmosphere, with Hindu extremists running the country, it's possible to imagine them permitting a hypothetical anti-Muslim movie anyway. And if not, anybody wanting to join Gibson in a religious bloodbath on screen could look further back to within the Hindu epics and make something just as manipulatively gory without slamming any group alive today.

Prentiss Riddle [riddle cxe io punkto com] • 2004.02.29
Prentiss... as for having opinions about a film we haven't seen the great Slavoj Zizek has a few thoughts. He's written an essay.

Here is an excerpt:

"Those who virulently criticized Mel Gibsonís The Passion even before its release seem unassailable: Are they not justified to worry that the film, made by a fanatic Catholic known for occasional anti-Semitic outbursts, may ignite anti-Semitic sentiments?

More generally, is The Passion not a manifesto of our own (Western, Christian) fundamentalists? Is it then not the duty of every Western secularist to reject it, to make it clear that we are not covert racists attacking only the fundamentalism of other (Muslim) cultures?"

Mel [chandra_sutra cxe hotmail punkto com] • 2004.03.01
I dont' know what to think, in fact I am not thinking at all about this subject. The only thing I can think about is Moore;s FAHRENHEIT 9/11 and am so upset about the horrible bush thugs in DC.

rob jackson [robjackson cxe yahoo punkto com] • 2004.07.23
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