richardf8: (Default)
Precis: Footage of an homage concert to Leonard Cohen framed by commentary from Cohen and the performers.

The good: Cohen's commentary is very illuminating, and his wry, self deprecating humour lends an incredibly gentle touch to the film.

The bad: Self-conciously "artistic" cinematography, including such crimes as shooting in high-speed Super-8 and then enlarging in to 70mm for maximum graininess, and too many excessively tight close-ups of mouths on microphones, as well as double-image special effects seriously mar the films viewability. One or two performances were . . . . strange.

The unforgettable: Cohen performing "Tower of Song" with a band of people influenced by him, including Bono and Rufus Wainwright. Gratitude permeates the stage - gratitude from Cohen that his music will live on the hands of these younger performers, and gratitude from the youngsters for the opportunity to play with Cohen.

The unforgiveable: I went in thinking the film was produced by the Canadian Film Board. However, it was produced by Mel Gibson and released through Icon/Lionsgate. Damn, our money got into that bastard's pocket.
richardf8: (Default)
I present two articles here

The First, from Adbusters:
Adbusters Article discussing the Jewishness of Neo-Conservatives

The second, from the Washington Post:
Survey on Jewish Responsibility for Death of Jesus )

In truth, I am more concerned about the "Jewish Conspiracy" libel than the "Christ-Killer" thing, but whenever the two come together things do not go well. It is one thing to hate Paul Wolfowitz because he is an ass; but quite another to suggest that his Jewishness should be raised as an issue. This is a further example of the the growing neo-liberal anti-semitism that has kept me from peace marches against even wars I oppose. I cannot bring myself to stand beside someone who equates the Israeli (over)reaction to a constant barrage of terrorism with Nazism, a not infrequent practice of neo-liberals.

[Edited to clarify the separateness of the two articles.]
richardf8: (Default)
A gentle reminder to all of those up in arms about Gibson's Passion Film to "Always Look On The Bright Side of Life."
richardf8: (Default)
[ profile] morgan1 just put up a good thoughtful essay on the Mel Gibson "Passion" and the differences between American and European Christianity.

Go read.
richardf8: (Default)
From KAKE, Wichita KS.

A woman collapsed in an East Wichita theatre this morning, during a showing of "The Passion Of The Christ". The woman, in her 50's, was pronounced dead a short time later at a Wichita medical center.

People viewing the movie at the Warren Theatre East say the woman collapsed during the portion of the movie where the crucifixion of Christ was shown. Nurses who were in the audience gave the woman CPR.

I wonder if there will be a wrongful death suit against Gibson over this?
richardf8: (Default)
Mel Gibson's not yet released film The Passion has been garnering a lot of attention lately. Mostly it has comprised Mel Gibson predicting how strongly the Jewish Community is going to object to his film, and the Jewish Community responding with, "you might at least let us screen it, but your reluctance may imply something objectionable."

You can read Frank Rich's article about this at The New York Times (may require free registration).

I think Rich's analysis is right on the money. Gibson's coyness about showing the film to Jewish and Liberal Christian audiences combined with his combativeness regarding that coyness suggests to me that he is most likely trying to dress the film in a mantle of notoriety. And if the film needs to be dressed in a mantle of notoriety six months in advance of its release, what does that imply about the likely viewability of the film?

I recall a film released in the late 1980's called The Last Temptation of Christ, based on a book by the same name. Its premise is that Jesus, on the cross, was visited by Satan who offered him a shot at a normal life. The bulk of that film was spent showing what that life would have been like and in the end, Jesus declines Satan's offer. A nice piece of speculative fiction around the passion, certainly, but nothing ultimately objectionable (because, after all, Jesus DOES decline Satan's offer). Nonetheless, Christian groups protested the film vehemently, without ever seeing it. And unlike Gibson's objectors in both the Liberal Christian and Jewish communities, they had the option of seeing it.

I went to see the film. I figured if groups like the Christian Coalition were protesting it, it had to have SOME redeeming qualities. And it was OK, I guess. A bit slowly paced, but very pretty, and capable of provoking thought. But all-in-all a film to wait for the rental on; not quite worth the first run price. Which is to say that the film probably benefited greatly from the protests, which were a spontaneous reaction. This all leaves me wondering if Gibson is trying to ensure his film's success by engineering controversy. And if this is necessary, does it mean he does not believe it can stand on its artistic merits?

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