Saturday, September 19, 2009

When Conservative Religion and Fear Rule the United-States.

In today’s world, the very idea that a movie on Charles Darwin fails to find a US distributor simply because they fear it would too controversial for their American audiences is frightening. The movie has been sold all over the world. It has even opened the Toronto Festival (in neighboring Canada).

150 years after “On The Origin of Species was published, you’d think that the passion over this might have cooled down a bit and not that it would be such a hot topic any more.

Of course, it may be that movie distributors look at the polls, and :

a Gallup Poll shows that only 39% of Americans say they "believe in the theory of evolution," while a quarter say they do not believe in the theory, and another 36% don't have an opinion either way. These attitudes are strongly related to education and, to an even greater degree, religiosity. (Gallup)

This, one must remember is uniquely American and itwould be wrong to see it as a Christian phenomenon. Indeed, not all Christian churches are set against the theory of evolution.
In fact, the Church of England has even made an apology for being “over-defensive and over-emotional in dismissing Darwin's ideas”, and they have a series on Darwin on their website. In America, the Episcopal Church has said that the theory of evolution does not conflict with Christian faith. And the Catholic Church (which still has the greatest number of members of all Christian churches) has admitted that Charles Darwin's theory of evolution should not have been dismissed and claimed it is compatible with the Christian view of Creation.
It should also be remembered that most of Darwin's theories are now accepted as a foundation of biological science.

But that’s even beside the point. Regardless of what one believes, the very notion that a movie cannot be distributed because it may offend a religious group is appalling. It means that culture is based on fear and intimidation. It is the way of countries run by religious fundamentalists like Iran, Saudi Arabia or Taliban Afghanistan, not the way of a democratic country that claims to believe in freedom of expression. If this movie finds no distributor, it will be a great shame to the United-States.


At 11:15, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe it would be easier for most of American people to watch a film on that topic if religion wasn’t so an integral part of their life all over the country. I mean it’s sometimes easier to stand back to think of important things especially when self convictions are concerned. Personally I think leaders of American churches should put believers at rest, telling them that scientist point of view can be considered without any danger if they do trust in God whatever his name. Of course it needs to take courage to consider believers as adults and take the risk to lose some of them, knowing that losing control means to become less powerful. Anyhow one can trust in God and scientits.

At 00:58, Blogger DoubleE said...

"Regardless of what one believes, the very notion that a movie cannot be distributed because it may offend a religious group is appalling. It means that culture is based on fear and intimidation." Isn't this taking a pretty narrow interpretation of what the article (which was based upon the opinion of the film's producer)?

I didn't see anywhere in the referenced article where it "cannot be distributed", nor am I aware of a regulatory body which determines what can and cannot be distributed. My guess would be that it has not been picked up based purely on potential profit based upon what the film industry thinks will sell in the US market.

The film's producer may have a different opinion from mine, but the statement made above would have been more credible had it come from the film distribution industry directly.

At 16:34, Blogger Joker & Thief said...

Granted that the article does not say that, but really it is hard to believe that a large country like the US would not find a distributor for such a movie. I cannot believe there is no profit to be made - especially when you see how many other non-profitable movies come out on regular basis.
It seems to me that the only reasonable conclusion is that the distributors are afraid of a backlash and they don't the trouble it might cause. They probably think it is not worth the trouble - religious extremists can be intimidating.

At 22:27, Blogger DoubleE said...

If fear of backlash were the primary motivator of a US film distribution company not to distribute a film, how have other religiously sensitive films made it to US audiences? For example: The DaVinci Code or The Last Temptation of Christ. These films caused various degrees of religious backlash but were still distributed. If fear of backlash were the only reasonable conclusion why were these films distributed in the US?

At 17:38, Blogger Joker & Thief said...

It seems to me that the Davinci Code did not really strike a cord to most fundamentalist Christians as does a movie on Darwin. It was essentially a indirect criticism of the catholic church.
As for the Last Temptation of Christ, it is precisely the lesson I think a lot of movie distributors have in mind. They may not want to repeat that mistake.
Of course, you're right that it is somewhat surprisng given all the types of movies that come out every year with very "anti-christian" themes. But I think this is more of a hot topic (along with abortion) that may rally a lot of the the exgtreme fringe.
Of course I have no direct evidence of this but I wonder what other reason may explain this situation. The fact that it might not be a good movie is even less convincing.


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