Skip to comments.French block Passion of the Christ
Posted on 02/29/2004 3:40:25 PM PST by miltonim
French cinema chains are refusing to distribute or screen Mel Gibson's controversial film The Passion of the Christ because of fears that it may spark a new outbreak of anti-Semitism.
France is the only European country where there is still no distribution deal for the film, which depicts the last days of Jesus Christ in graphic detail and is accused by critics of stoking anti-Jewish sentiment.
The film was released in America and Australia last week but French distributors are wary of its impact on audiences and want to gauge its reception elsewhere in Europe, where it is due to open next month. A veteran film industry figure said: "We don't want to be on the side of those who support such anti-Semitism. When we distributed It's a Beautiful Life we were worried about the risk of making a comedy about the Holocaust, but that was different. There's enough anti-Semitic stuff circulating here already without us throwing oil on the fire."
The debate over the film is highly sensitive in France, where a spate of fire-bombings of synagogues and Jewish schools and attacks on rabbis in the past year has led Israel to denounce it as the most anti-Semitic country in Europe. Anger with Israel among France's large and growing Muslim population, combined with the strength of right-wing parties in some French districts, have contributed to an atmosphere that has alarmed political and Jewish leaders.
Last year Paris police were forced to set up a unit to deal with anti-Semitic crimes. Schoolteachers complain that they face a hostile reaction among Muslim students when trying to teach the history of the Holocaust, which some equate with Israel's actions against Palestinians. 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.
|French cinema chains are refusing to distribute or screen Mel Gibson's controversial film The Passion of the Christ because of fears that it may spark a new outbreak of anti-Semitism.
Well, I guess I'd have to say that the French cinema chains know the French people better than I do. So if the chains think this movie (which is doing nothing of the kind in the US) will provoke the French into a massive new outbreak of anti-Semitism, I guess I have to believe them.
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