Hostile Atmosphere Surrounds Opening of Gibson's "Passion"

March 30, 2004

Source: Yahoo! News

On March 30, 2004 Yahoo! News posted a Reuters article that reported, "Panned by the critics and local church leaders, the controversial film 'The Passion of The Christ' opens in France on Wednesday after winning a court challenge and getting the backing of a Muslim businessman. Mel Gibson's graphic film will hit the screens at about 500 cinemas across the country amid loud criticism of its bloody scourging and crucifixion scenes and charges it could rekindle violence against Jews. The press in movie-mad France panned the film when it premiered in the United States last month, mixing Gallic disdain for Hollywood blockbusters with secular France's suspicions about any attempt to bring religion into the public sphere. It took a Tunisian-born Muslim, producer Tarak ben Ammar, to promote the film after other distributors refused to touch it. The last hurdle fell on Monday when a court ruled against three Jewish brothers who wanted it banned on grounds it was likely to fuel anti-Semitism. But the mood is still hostile. 'If God is love, none of that comes through even for a second in this grieving and violent film. Terminator is a mild allegory by comparison,' the Journal du Dimanche newspaper wrote on Sunday."