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French Film Chain Refuses To Show 'Passion'

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French Film Chain Refuses To Show 'Passion'

Old 03-23-04, 05:42 PM
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French Film Chain Refuses To Show 'Passion'


Art House Purveyor Calls Gibson Film 'Fascist Propaganda'

POSTED: 1:07 p.m. EST March 23, 2004

The president of the leading art house film chain in France is refusing to show Mel Gibson's controversial biblical epic "The Passion of The Christ" in his theaters.

In a letter forwarded to the Hollywood Reporter, Marin Karmitz, president the France's leading independent cinema group M2K, branded the film as "fascist propaganda."

According to the Reporter, M2K has 58 screens spread among its10 theaters. Karmitz is also the president of the French Federation of Distributors.

In the letter, according to the Reporter, Karmitz stated three reasons for his stance. To begin with, he said "The Passion" turns "violence and barbarity into a spectacle. For two hours, you see a man being tortured, nothing else."

Karmitz also objects to the film for the revision way it portrays history, where the sounds of blows and cries displaces speech, said the Reporter.

Lastly, Karmitz said, "anti-Semitism" is the third element of the "fascist ideology" behind the film, according to the Reporter.

The Reporter said that Quinta Distribution, which is expected to open the film on approximately 480 screens in France on March 31, declined comment about the letter.

In addition, the head of Quinta, Tarak Ben Ammar, did not return the Reporter's phone calls.

But, according to the Reporter, when Quinta picked up the film earlier this month, Ben Ammar said he was blown away because it shows what Christ really went through in his last moments" and that it was a "powerful film that is absolutely not anti-Semitic."

Despite his stance to not run the film in his theaters, Karmitz said it was right for the film to be released in France to air the debate that it provokes, the Reporter said.

The film, which was distributed in the United States by Newmarket Films March 25, has earned $295 million at the box office so far.

Hmmm, I wouldn't be surprised if given the choice to show 'The Last Temptation of Christ' or the 'The Passion', he would choose "The Last Temptation'.


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