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The Passion and the Brian

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The Passion opens door for the return of Monty Python’s The Life of Brian:

    The Biblical satire will be re-released in Los Angeles, New York and other US cities to mark its 25th anniversary.

    Adverts will challenge Mel Gibson’s blockbuster with the lines “Mel or Monty?”, “The Passion or the Python?”

    Distributor Rainbow said it hoped the film would “serve as an antidote to all the hysteria about Mel’s movie”.

    ….It was condemned as blasphemous before its original release, although Monty Python said it was intended as a spoof on Bible films and intolerance rather than Christianity.

    The film could not be completed until former Beatle George Harrison stepped in to finance it after EMI Films withdrew, fearing it was too controversial.

    Rainbow president Henry Jaglom said: “We decided this is an important time to re-release this film, to provide some counter-programming to The Passion.”

    He said the surviving members of the Monty Python comedy team “all agreed this was a good time” to bring back the film and would help promote it. [BBC]

A little yin to The Passion’s yang makes perfect sense. The best thing about Brian is that it demonstrates how arbitrary ALL religion appears from the outside.

In other Passion news, Joe Berkofsky reports on some rather counterintuitive reponses to the movie:

    Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” is good for the Jews.

    So says demographer Gary Tobin, whose San Francisco-based Institute for Jewish & Community Research released a new poll this week concluding that the movie changed Christian attitudes toward Jews and the crucifixion for the better.

    “In general, people are less inclined to see Jews as responsible for killing Christ” after seeing the movie, Tobin said.

    That finding contrasts sharply with dire warnings from some Jewish leaders and groups before the movie opened. Critics said Gibson’s skewed portrayal – in which Jews pushed the Roman leadership into crucifying Jesus – could inflame anti-Semitism, if not domestically than abroad, where anti-Semitism is more prevalent.

    In a random national survey of 1,003 adults conducted by Tobin’s group March 5-9, nearly two weeks after the movie’s premiere, 12 percent of the 146 people who had seen “The Passion” said it made them “less likely” to blame Jews today for the crucifixion, compared to 5 percent who said they were “more likely” to blame all Jews for killing Jesus.

    ….In Tobin’s survey, 9 percent of those who either had seen the movie or were familiar with it due to the “buzz” surrounding it said the movie made them less likely to hold Jews responsible for Jesus’s death; 2 percent said they were more likely to blame Jews; 83 percent said their opinions about Jews remained unchanged.

    ….Among the leading critics of the film was Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, who failed to convince Gibson to add a postscript to the movie saying that many Jews were crucified during the Roman occupation of ancient Israel, and that the Jews were not to blame for Jesus’ death.

    “I hope he’s right,” Foxman said of Tobin’s survey, but “I think it’s a little too early to come to any conclusions.”

    ….For his part, Tobin said the ADL and others were right to focus attention on the movie. After seeing the movie Monday, Tobin said he found it “full of anti-Semitic images.”

    “The film blames Jews in ways that are associated with anti-Semitic beliefs,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean people are coming away from the movie with anti-Semitic views.” [JTA]

My guess is that the film is causing many people to examine their beliefs in general, perhaps for the first time, and while in that frame of mind sorting out the sources of some of those beliefs.

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About Eric Olsen

  • http://www.corinna-hasofferett.com Corinna Hasofferett

    Eric, when so much passion is around, could the dead of winter still be not far away?