Tuesday, 15 March 2016
All steamed up
The Catholic Church, which owns over 1,100 cinemas in Italy, has decreed that the film "Weekend", from the same director who made "45 Years", is irreligious and has banned it from all their cinemas.
According to the Italian Conference of Bishops' Film Evaluation Commission, the film is "not advised, unusable and scabrous (indecent or salacious)." It claims that the film's main themes - seen by critics as love and identity - are actually drugs and homosexuality.
So now it can be seen in just ten independent cinemas not controlled by the Catholic Church.
The film is in fact about two gay men who meet in a club and spend the weekend together. They talk about sex, relationships, coming out, careers and aspirations, before finally separating.
Says Cesare Petrillo, the distribution company's President, "I cannot see any other explanation than a problem of homophobia in the church. They decided that it was unacceptable, that it should be censored, and they have used their power to paralyse the distribution."
What gives the church the right to censor a film, or anything else, and declare that people can't decide for themselves what they think of it? What gives them the right to say their views are the only valid ones and other views count for nothing?
I have plenty of time for religious teachings in general. People like the Dalai Lama, Gandhi, Buddha and Jesus have helped many troubled individuals to live better and more productive lives. But what repels me is when religions aggressively seek converts and try to control other people. When they turn into ruthless empire-builders rather than spiritual advisers. That's when humility gives way to arrogance and the rot sets in.
Pic: Chris New and Tom Cullen in "Weekend"