A movie deemed by many to be offensive to a particular religion results in violent protest against said film.
But I'm not talking about the recent events in the Middle East.
I'm talking about what happened in 1988 when Martin Scorsese's adaptation of The Last Temptation of Christ was released into theaters. Though many supported the work, Christian fundamentalists around the world objected to its portrayal of Jesus as a morally conflicted man who even has a vision while on the cross of being married to Mary Magdalene.
Even before the film came out, it was met with howls of protests from across the globe, but what many fail to remember is that it was met with a violent reaction as well.
On October 22, 1988, a French Christian fundamentalist group launched Molotov cocktails inside the Parisian Saint Michel movie theater while it was showing the film. This attack injured thirteen people, four of whom were severely burned. The Saint Michel theater was heavily damaged, and reopened 3 years later after restoration.Though many condemned the attack,
The leader of Christian Solidarity, a Roman Catholic group that had promised to stop the film from being shown, said, "We will not hesitate to go to prison if it is necessary."Similar attacks against theatres included graffiti, setting off tear-gas canisters and stink bombs, and assaulting filmgoers.
The attack was subsequently blamed on a Christian fundamentalist group linked to Bernard Antony, a representative of the far-right National Front to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, and the excommunicated followers of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. Lefebvre had been excommunicated from the Catholic Church on July 2, 1988.
My point here is certainly not to play a tit-for-tat game between religious fundamentalists who resort to violence when they feel their religion has been denigrated, but simply to point out that no one belief system has a monopoly on such activity.
The official movie trailer.
Scorsese interviewed about the controversy surrounding the film.