Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Indiewire logo

Not My Passion

ReelPolitik By Anthony Kaufman | ReelPolitik April 14, 2004 at 5:29AM

Not My Passion
3

melgibson.gif

First off, I should make a confession. I have not seen Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ , so my arguments here are a matter of principle, not film criticism. Not long ago, there was a minor discussion at indieWIRE about whether or not to include coverage of the film in its weekly box office reports. The staff eventually decided it was eligible and went on to publish the box office as part of the weekend's indie gross and include stories praising Newmarket's Bob Berney (mind you, a very nice guy) for his latest indie blockbuster, after recent hits such as Whale Rider, Monster, and My Big Fat Greek Wedding (while he was at IFC Films).

But like the latter film, I don't believe The Passion is an "independent" film, even though it was technically made outside of the standard Hollywood Studio System. And I'll tell you why. Not simply because it was made for over $20 million and financed by a megastar's international corporate company, but because it is a reactionary piece of conservative propaganda. I know, I haven't seen the movie (yet), so perhaps this claim is tenuous, but judging from those who have seen it and interviews with its director, I believe that Mel Gibson is a wacky idealogue with a dangerous and dominant agenda. Sure, people can make any movie they want to make, but it's not "independent" when it comes with a staunch right-wing mission aimed at alienating some of America's minorities and rousing the conversative powers that already control the United States.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't "independent" films meant to champion those who are under-represented in the mainstream? Last I checked, there were hundreds of thousands of Christian Churches in America. This film is not an underdog, nor an outsider. Just look at its box office: you don't make 400 million dollars worldwide with a film that reflects the experiences of those on the margins of society. When a movie caters to the tastes and prejudices of that many people, it just can't be considered "independent." The two are largely mutually exclusive.

In the same way, My Big Fat Greek Wedding was not an indie film. It was a TV sitcom for the entire family. And truly "indie" films, by my strict definition and probably not yours, are not for the entire family. They are artful, subtle, ambiguous, open-ended, and they don't include manipulative, sweeping slow motion shots, accompanied by swelling orchestral music, of heros being flayed and tortured. (I read about that scene.) So the next time a Hollywood star, whether Tom Hanks or Mel Gibson, comes aboard a project that feels as broad or bloated as My Big Fat Greek Passion of Christ, let's all in the alternative film community think twice, or maybe thrice, before embracing it as one of our own.

This article is related to: Rightwing Extremism, Christian Extremism

Follow us

E-Mail Updates



Recent Comments

By Bob Connors: The thing to remember is the video has some actual data but it's conclusions are far fetched and inaccurate. This is a Progressive propaghand…

Who is "Politizane" and What's Next for the Income Inequality Viral Video

Mar 21th, 2015 8:47am

By Ostlee: This makes very sad reading - i feel for the people of Maldives. Everyone should boycott the island as a holiday destination until Nasheed…

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 13th, 2015 5:35pm

By Ahmed Shahid: Release the first democratically elected president. The only president of Maldives who has reached the people of Maldives, heard them and…

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 12th, 2015 9:37am

By Hanne Neve: Please take care of your country and the climate by freeing your real selektet president.

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 11th, 2015 9:09am

By Iqbal: Please release President Nasheed

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 10th, 2015 10:27pm

By Martha Robertson: I strongly urge the immediate release of Nasheed!

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 10th, 2015 9:37pm

By Ned Rollins: Bad business, going to bite you.

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 10th, 2015 3:47pm

By John Painter: The guy isnt a terrorist.

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 10th, 2015 12:00pm

By Sofia Vera: I support Presdient Nasheed and add my name to this letter of support for his release.

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 10th, 2015 11:14am

By Margarett R Mulkey: A civilized society is required of the current government of the Maldives. The world is watching injustice and crimes, and many realized thes…

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 10th, 2015 10:53am