Catholic priest sex leads to another round of Bollywood vs. religious censorship
Vinod Pande’s new film, Sins (2005), which chronicles the affair between a hunky Roman Catholic priest (Shiney Ahuja) and a much younger woman (Seema Rahmani), has outraged India’s Catholic radicals who refuse to allow members of the clergy to be portrayed in a potentially negative light.
They have demanded that Sins be withdrawn, but Pande has decided to move forward with its release. In a February ’05 interview at Rediff, the director complained:
Isn’t this fascism? Such intolerance for creative work is not acceptable.
I had done another story on Punjabi extremism. Sardars were up in arms! But I refused to give in to their demands.
I am responsible only to my producers. I hate to point this out, but haven’t people seen my earlier work? A boy-meets-girl story has never interested me. In my first film, Ek Baar Phir [Once Again, 1980], three decades ago [sic], the wife walked out on her husband without apology. My films are always about the pain and ecstasy of forbidden love. But I have never gone beyond my aesthetic boundaries.
Yet Joseph Dias, general secretary of India’s Catholic Secular Forum, affirms that “religion needs to be a personal affair and should not be a subject for entertainment or for commercial use.”
‘The Crime of Father Amaro’ and ‘Pianese Nunzio’
Some have noticed similarities between Shiney Ahuja’s Catholic priest in Sins and the one played by Gael García Bernal in The Crime of Father Amaro / El crimen del padre Amaro (2002), Carlos Carrera’s Academy Award-nominated Mexican drama featuring Ana Claudia Talancón as the teenage object of the padre’s affection.
Carrera’s film – and by extension Sins – also has elements in common with Antonio Capuano’s excellent Pianese Nunzio, Fourteen in May / Pianese Nunzio, 14 anni a maggio (1996), in which a Neapolitan priest and social crusader (Fabrizio Bentivoglio) has a sexual relationship with an adolescent male (Emanuele Gargiulo).
Shiney Ahuja and Seema Rahmani Sins image: Yash Raj Films.
Image of Ana Claudia Talancón and Gael García Bernal as a priest in The Crime of Father Amaro: Samuel Goldwyn Films.
Creationist censorship hits IMAX theaters in American South: ‘Volcanoes of the Deep Sea’ vs. radical Christians
IMAX theaters in several cities in Texas, Georgia, and North and South Carolina have decided not to screen Stephen Low’s nature documentary Volcanoes of the Deep Sea because of its references to evolution may offend Fundamentalist Christians and assorted believers in the widely derided faux science known as “creationism.”
Narrated by four-time Oscar nominee Ed Harris,* the documentary short follows two scientists searching for an elusive 50-million-year-old creature along the 12,000-foot-deep (3,650-meter-deep) mid-Atlantic ridge.
Written by Stephen and Alex Low, the narration for Volcanoes of the Deep Sea commits the cardinal sin of making a connection between human DNA and microbes inside undersea volcanoes.
It’s unclear whether the owners of these same IMAX theaters would refrain from showing a “documentary” preaching creationism for fear of offending those who take scientific studies seriously.
Stephen Low movies
Among the Ottawa-born Stephen Low’s other films are the following:
- Super Speedway (2000).
- Mark Twain’s America in 3D (1998).
- Across the Sea of Time (1995).
- Titanica (1995).
- Flight of the Aquanaut (1993).
- The Last Buffalo (1990).
Ed Harris Oscar nominations
* Ed Harris’ Academy Award nominations, three of which in the Best Supporting Actor category, were for:
- Apollo 13 (1995).
Dir.: Ron Howard.
Cast: Tom Hanks. Kevin Bacon. Bill Paxton. Kathleen Quinlan. Gary Sinise.
- The Truman Show (1998).
Dir.: Peter Weir.
Cast: Jim Carrey. Laura Linney. Natascha McElhone. Noah Emmerich. Brian Delate. Paul Giamatti. Holland Taylor. Peter Krause. Ted Raymond.
- Pollock (2000). As Best Actor.
Dir.: Ed Harris.
Cast: Marcia Gay Harden. Jennifer Connelly. Amy Madigan. Bud Cort. John Heard. Val Kilmer. Sada Thompson.
- The Hours (2002).
Dir.: Stephen Daldry.
Cast: Meryl Streep. Nicole Kidman. Julianne Moore. Toni Collette. Jeff Daniels. Stephen Dillane. Claire Danes. Miranda Richardson. John C. Reilly. Allison Janney. Jack Rovello.
Volcanoes of the Deep Sea image: Image Entertainment.
Stephen Low movies’ info via the IMDb.
Abbas Kiarostami to film in Italy
In other news, the Tehran Times reports that Abbas Kiarostami (A Taste of Cherry, ABC Africa, The Wind Will Carry Us) is planning to shoot his next film in the summer in Italy. Kiarostami has refused to elaborate on his upcoming project as no contract has been signed.
The Iranian director is currently in Rome promoting his latest (co-)directorial effort, Tickets, an English-language feature that follows various train travelers throughout Europe. The film is divided in three segments, each with its own director: Kiarostami, Britain’s Ken Loach, and Italy’s Ermanno Olmi.
Tickets opens in Italy on March 25 ’05. In the cast: Valeria Bruni Tedeschi. Blerta Cahani. Martin Compston. Sanije Dedja. Carlo Delle Piane. Silvana De Santis. Aishe Gjuriqi. Gary Maitland. Klajdi Qorraj.
India has (relatively speaking) cheapest movie prices in the world
According to the British publication Screen Digest, in relative terms India has the cheapest movie prices in the world. On average, Indian workers earn only US$0.70 per hour, but since film tickets in that country cost a mere 19 cents it takes Indians only 16 minutes of labor to earn enough money to buy a ticket.
The U.S. comes in second – Americans need to work 24 minutes to buy a movie ticket – while China is in third place: 26 minutes.
The most expensive country for moviegoers – at least among those found on the list – is Bulgaria where workers must toil for 123 minutes in order to buy a movie ticket.