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Old 08-13-2003, 12:57 AM   #1
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Calif. Rabbi Says 'Passion' Already Fueling Hatred
Tue August 12, 2003 03:46 PM ET




LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Mel Gibson's new film "The Passion" has already unleashed a wave of anti-Semitism in the United States despite the fact that it won't be released for months, a Jewish leader said on Tuesday.
Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, told Reuters the Jewish human rights organization had received dozens of hate calls and letters prompted by a handful of private screenings and advance publicity about the movie.

"The Passion," is Gibson's depiction of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and events leading up to it. It has raised concern that it might portray Jews as collectively guilty for Christ's death. The film is not scheduled for general release until early next year.

Representatives of the Anti-Defamation League saw the movie in a private screening and the League said on Monday that if it was released in its present form it could "fuel the hatred, bigotry and anti-Semitism that many responsible churches have worked hard to repudiate."

"The Passion" was shot in Italy and contains dialogue only in Latin and Aramaic. Gibson, a traditionalist Roman Catholic who directed and co-wrote the film, has denied intending to fuel anti-Semitism.

"Mel's interest is just the opposite, as he has stated previously, that this film is about love, hope, faith and forgiveness," Gibson's publicist, Alan Nierob, told the entertainment trade paper Hollywood Reporter this week.

But Hier said the bigotry had already started, and that the Simon Wiesenthal Center had received hate mail from people who had seen or heard about the movie, and who accused Jews of killing God's son, praised Adolf Hitler and made veiled threats against the center and Jews collectively.

"Are there any manifestations of hate so far? The answer is an unequivocal yes," Hier said. "We have had hate mail in the past ... But never in spurts like this."

Hier cited one writer who praised Hitler as "much kinder to the Jews than I would have been," and signed his letter "a very concerned American, name withheld for fear of retaliation by you Jewish scumbags."



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this worries me,....
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Old 08-13-2003, 03:03 AM   #2
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Aint It Cool News had a trailer up for the film...looks very intense.

The film has only had a handful of screenings, to people Gibson (I believe) has specifically invited. It hasn't been shown to test audiences, he has kept it very limited. They should use those audiences as the starting point for an investigation--if these people have actually seen the entire film and not just the trailer. Even the trailer is only available on-line.

The trailer does show some very omnious looking rabbis, but mostly sadistic Romans, so if these people have only viewed the trailer...they ought to be sending their threats to Rome.

I confess I have been following the film with alot of interest, since I'm a fan of Gibson. Despite his more conservative leanings, he has always struck me as a very intelligent person, who has a real interest and respect for history. I don't believe he would deliberately be negative in his portrayal of Jews. I could be wrong, of course...

From what little I've seen of "The Passion", it's going to be very realistically portrayed. It looks like an incredible film, (and I'm not religious) and it's too bad that it's causing this kind of reaction.
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Old 08-13-2003, 06:58 AM   #3
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Well, what is worrisome is his particular religious background, which is "traditionalist Catholic." He rejects any of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, and, subsequently, rejects the Vatican's authority over the Church, because of its "betrayal" of traditionalist Catholic values. Where a lot of the confusion comes is what Gibson actually believes then, as a result, because the Second Vatican Council really brought in a lot more tolerance into the Catholic Church. Not only could his views be interpreted as anti-Semitic, but they also could be very anti-Protestant, etc. He's already building a traditionalist Catholic church in Southern California, meaning it will be in Latin, have the communion rails, and probably have the priest with his back to the parishoners.

The overall answer is "I don't know." I don't know what Gibson really believes. He got into some real trouble for being homophobic in the early 1990s, but he did a good job of patching that over back then (meaning he probably started keeping his beliefs to himself). I don't doubt that he'll be able to patch things over this time, if any controversy arises. The real issue, though, is that this film may still never see the light of day, despite the hype. The film has still secured no distributor, and a film in Latin and Aramaic may never find one.

From what I've read, the film has no subtitles either. Well, that pretty much means this film is a $30 million toy for him, because it will go nowhere, having a film in two dead languages with no subtitles.

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Old 08-13-2003, 10:03 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon

From what I've read, the film has no subtitles either. Well, that pretty much means this film is a $30 million toy for him, because it will go nowhere, having a film in two dead languages with no subtitles.

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I miss the communion rails....and the masses in latin!!!! That did not change over night in the area I grew up in. I am not sure how much Vatican II has to do with the last hours of Christ's life.

However, I am very, very curious as to the response it will get due to the language issue. I totally Loved Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and thought it was the BEST picture over Gladiator a fewe years back, but it had subtitles to read.

I have seen article where people have said what they saw on screen was very realistic. I am wondering if it will get the rating NC-17.
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Old 08-13-2003, 12:26 PM   #5
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Frankly, "traditionalist" Catholics drive me nuts. I'm "novo ordo" Catholic and I've had some real battles with these people. At one point on a Catholic message board there was a truly ugly incident when one of the traditionalists posted a blatantly anti-Semitic note. The commotion spread to a Jewish message board when a bunch of us went over there and denounced anti-Semitism. As if that wasn't enough the poster of the offending note posted another note that took a swipe at Protestants. I'm not saying all traditionalists are full of prejudice. But I have problems with Catholics who reject the Vatican II reforms, although I do love the Latin mass. Some of these people are so full of hate it's sickening and disturbing. That letter from that bigot calling Jews "scumbags" is an example.
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Old 08-13-2003, 12:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
From what I've read, the film has no subtitles either. Well, that pretty much means this film is a $30 million toy for him, because it will go nowhere, having a film in two dead languages with no subtitles.
Hmmm. Dead languages, no subtitles, but the message of "hatred, bigotry and anti-Semitism " comes across clearly?
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Old 08-13-2003, 01:02 PM   #7
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Hmmm. Dead languages, no subtitles, but the message of "hatred, bigotry and anti-Semitism " comes across clearly?
I'll bet I'd get sick watching this thing.
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Old 08-13-2003, 01:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader


Hmmm. Dead languages, no subtitles, but the message of "hatred, bigotry and anti-Semitism " comes across clearly?

The same thought occured to me...at least, if I'm taking this comment in the right way.

Does anyone remember the stink a few years ago about "Seven Years in Tibet"? Where Jewish leaders urged people not to see the film because it was about a former Nazi? I think anyone who has seen the film would agree that it did have very peaceful message. It never glorified Harrer's past. It was obvious to me that few of these critics had even seen the film.

Yet these same critics never blacklisted "The English Patient", a story that derives it's most romantic moment from the hero turning secrets over to the Nazi Party.

What's going on with "The Passion" reminds me of that. It was not even completed before it was labeled as anti-Semitic--this is where much of the "advance publicity" has come from, not from Gibson or the film industry. Of course, this does *not* justify hate mail or threats and I find the people responsible disgusting, cowardly and far from Christian.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is, that it's easy to label a film when a wider audience has not seen it and it's easy to find insult where none is intended. I wish Gibson would screen it for Jewish audiences, as he has for Christian audiences and see what the reaction is.
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Old 08-13-2003, 01:13 PM   #9
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Here is a link to the AICN trailer, if anyone's interested in viewing it.

http://www.aintitcool.com/display.cgi?id=15799
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Old 08-13-2003, 06:18 PM   #10
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Just a brief note to say that although I look forward to this movie with some anticipation and interest, I do 'not' think Mr. Gibson's talent for historical fact is that impressive. Yes, his films are entertaining, in particular 'Braveheart', but the historical content of that movie was laughable.

I hope he does better this time, historically.

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Old 08-13-2003, 06:55 PM   #11
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Yes, his films are entertaining, in particular 'Braveheart', but the historical content of that movie was laughable.

I hope he does better this time, historically.

Ant.
I agree....there was TREMENDOUS liberty take with Braveheart.
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Old 08-13-2003, 07:00 PM   #12
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I dunno. Gibson has said that he has based the movie on what is in the Gospel. I just don't think this movie is going to spread anti-Semitism. The Gospels have been around for 2000 years. If you aren't an ignorant bigot now, I doubt this movie is going to make you one.
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Old 08-13-2003, 07:35 PM   #13
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I agree....there was TREMENDOUS liberty take with Braveheart.

Dreadful. We historians tore that one up.
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Old 08-13-2003, 07:42 PM   #14
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I think Gibson has already faced one group of tough critics.
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Old 08-13-2003, 08:00 PM   #15
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I think Gibson has already faced one group of tough critics.
One of the most feared secret societies is The Librarian's Guild. Never, and I mean never, piss off a Librarian.
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