Sunday, September 20, 2009

Christian Groups Block Showing of Darwin Movie in U.S.?

Posted by Tana Ganeva, AlterNet at 1:20 PM on September 14, 2009.

A film about Charles Darwin that is being shown throughout the world can't find a U.S. distributor.

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This is the kind of thing that makes it really easy to rant about brainwashed Christians like an angsty high schooler, or snottily proclaim that Americans are stupid and you're moving to another country: a movie about Charles Darwin shown almost all over the world won't play in the U.S. because the film has been turned down by American distributors. Yes, a movie about a 19th century scientist who developed a theory uniformly accepted in the scientific community has been deemed too controversial for distribution in the U.S.

According to the Telegraph UK:

US distributors have resolutely passed on a film which will prove hugely divisive in a country where, according to a Gallup poll conducted in February, only 39 per cent of Americans believe in the theory of evolution., an influential site which reviews films from a Christian perspective, described Darwin as the father of eugenics and denounced him as "a racist, a bigot and an 1800s naturalist whose legacy is mass murder". His "half-baked theory" directly influenced Adolf Hitler and led to "atrocities, crimes against humanity, cloning and genetic engineering", the site stated.

The film has sparked fierce debate on US Christian websites, with a typical comment dismissing evolution as "a silly theory with a serious lack of evidence to support it despite over a century of trying".

Jeremy Thomas, the Oscar-winning producer of Creation, said he was astonished that such attitudes exist 150 years after On The Origin of Species was published.

"That's what we're up against. In 2009. It's amazing," he said.

"The film has no distributor in America. It has got a deal everywhere else in the world but in the US, and it's because of what the film is about. People have been saying this is the best film they've seen all year, yet nobody in the US has picked it up.

To be fair, we probably can't entirely blame Christians. While the Christian media outrage machine is pretty formidable, it's doubtful the U.S. movie industry has been cowed by some ranting on Christian comment boards, or the prospect of a boycott (that's why Hollywood still produces slightly more movies with sex and violence, rather than Jesus, as their major themes).

Probably a bit of cost benefit analysis going on: despite the free publicity generated by riled-up Christians, people will hardly flock to a British-y movie about a 19th century scientist -- at least not enough to outweigh the branding headaches created by screaming, sign-wielding Christians. So, this is your fault too. Or, perhaps the savvy BBC producers are playing up the controversy to trick you into going to a smart movie about history and science. Let's hope for the latter.


Tagged as: religion, christians, hollywood, movies, evolution, darwin

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