View Full Version : French Jews Fail to Get Gibson's 'Passion'Ban

29-03-04, 15:24
A bid by three Jewish brothers to have Mel Gibson's controversial film "The Passion of The Christ" banned in France as anti-Semitic failed Monday when a Paris court found no reason to stop its premiere this week.

The court said Patrick, Jean-Marc and Gerard Benlolo had not proven the film would incite anti-Semitism in a country that has been struggling against a resurgence of violence against Jews and their property for the past three years.

"The film in question, which is a very realistic adaptation of the final hours of Christ's life, cannot be considered an incitement to hatred and violence against Jews or an affront to their dignity and security," the ruling read.

"Making Jesus's death the main motive for anti-Semitism and age-old persecutions of Jews would amount to a narrow and simplistic view of Mel Gibson's film," it added.

Jewish critics in the United States, where the movie opened last month, have charged the film unjustly portrayed Jews as Christ's killers, but this appeared to be the first attempt anywhere to ban it.

The film is due to open in France Wednesday.

The Benlolo brothers presented their case at a hastily called court hearing Friday after they, judge Florence Lagemi and lawyers for distributor Quinta Communications had seen the film in a special private screening.

Lagemi said in her ruling the film reflected Biblical texts accurately and presented Christ's crucifixion under Roman governor Pontius Pilate in a way that could not rationally be interpreted as showing Jewish guilt and rationalizing pogroms.

The dossier the brothers submitted to support their request was riddled with legal errors and crammed with quotes from U.S. movie reviews, which Lagemi said the court could not accept. In an emotional appeal, Patrick Benlolo, a doctor, said he and his businessmen brothers felt obliged as Jews to take a stand against the film. "There is so much violent anti-Semitism in Europe that we cannot let this happen," he said.

The brothers said they would appeal the ruling.

The distributor urged the judge Friday to throw out the case because the brothers could not use their religion as the basis for a complaint. Its lawyer also argued they did not show how the film could cause public disorder.

The film, which in the United States has raked in $315 million in five weeks, has met heavy criticism from the Catholic Church in France before its premiere here Wednesday.

Paris Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, who was born Jewish and converted as a teen-ager, denounced the film's violence.

29-03-04, 16:51

29-03-04, 16:55
I'm going to see this on Friday.