Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Latest Protest: Blindness

Originally uploaded by Fabio Allves
One of my biggest pet peeves with people that protest movies for their content is that it’s usually for a completely stupid reason – and before the movie is released.

I expected Tropic Thunder to get blasted for Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal of an actor in black face but instead it was protested against for its use of the word “retarded” and the character of Simple Jack. There was a point to all of this in the film – to show Hollywood’s insensitivity – and yet it was ignored by the people protesting.

The same thing happened with Dogma; religious groups protested in droves against the abuse of religion and the Catholic church in the movie. The protests went on for months about how it was blasphemous, sacrilegious, Kevin Smith was going to hell, etc. The thing is if you actually sat and watched the film Kevin Smith actually put a message in there – he wanted to audience to take religion and God seriously.

Back to my original point; to some degree I expect this kind of backlash against satire’s because for some reason people don’t understand the point of satire . What I did not expect was for a protest to start against Fernando Meirelles’ new film Blindness. You can read the article here; the protest surrounds the use of the blind in the film and how they are portrayed.

I have not seen Blindness yet as it is not in the theatre, but from what I understand it is a film about a town where all except one miraculously go blind and the government tries to cover the situation up. The blindness is a metaphor and the genre is a sci-fi/mystery.

Can people just chill out and calm down before they jump to conclusions? I am a firm believer in watching a film and taking it in context before making my decision about a films message. Some movies deliver messages well, some don’t. Films like Crash, Babel, The Happening, The Mist and a score of other movies delivered their message badly and obnoxiously; however, there are movies like Children of Men, The Fountain, Night of the Living Dead and City of God (Meirelles last film) that deliver their messages in excellent and thought provoking ways, usually using metaphors.

All I’m saying is give a movie a chance people. I’ll get off my soap box now and return it to its regular position.


Adam said...

Actually, his last film was 2005's excellent "The Constant Gardener," not "City of God."

I agree with you that a lot of groups tend to criticize films needlessly. What's particularly interesting is that, like you mentioned, in many cases, the film that's being protested has an important case to make that's not so far off of what the protesters believe.

Megan said...

Really? For some reason I must have gotten those films out of order. Both were great though.m I am very interested to see BLINDNESS even though I am not the biggest Julianne Moore fan.

Adam said...

I'm looking forward to BLINDNESS too. It looks really good. I've heard bad things, but I'm hoping that they're wrong.

FilmNinja said...

hmm - interesting point about what people criticize. and you are right - the very thing they are protesting is typically the whole POINT.

i feel like to really do the film justice . . . I shouldn't see it : )

Anonymous said...

I remember seeing Gardner a few years back, I enjoyed it but I didn't particularly care for all the hand held camera work in it. I thought it was much better used in God.

I don't know if you seen An Evening With Kevin Smith but Smith admits to have a little fun with the protesters that he actually protested his own film (no one even recognized him) and got on the local news for doing so . Haha

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