[Marxism] Soft on the Empire

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at osu.edu
Thu Feb 26 10:31:13 MST 2004


I hear that Gibson's film is soft on the empire and tough on the 
"mob" and the national elite.  It's a fitting blockbuster for the New 
American Century.

*****   'Passion' Enjoys Blockbuster Bow
Thu Feb 26, 2004 02:54 AM ET
By Brian Fuson

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the 
Christ" grossed an estimated $15 million-$20 million during its first 
day of release across North America Wednesday, putting the 
controversial film in the same league as such blockbusters as "The 
Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" and "Independence 
Day." . . .

If the estimate holds, the five-day total through Sunday for 
"Passion" should breeze past $60 million -- an impressive debut in 
anybody's book but especially for a film that was originally 
considered a labor of love and destined to be art house fare.

The New Testament-based drama opened in an ultrawide 3,006 theaters 
and on about 4,643 screens, an unprecedented and remarkable 
achievement for a subtitled film that was shot in Aramaic and street 
Latin and focuses on the last 12 hours of the life of Jesus Christ.

Similar Wednesday openings include "The Lord of the Rings: The 
Fellowship of the Ring" ($18.2 million), 20th Century Fox's 
"Independence Day" ($17.4 million, excluding Tuesday night previews) 
and Sony's "Men in Black" ($14 million, excluding Tuesday night 
previews). In regards to the biggest Wednesday debuts of all time, 
"Passion" would rank between sixth and 10th, depending on where the 
final numbers end up.

The Wednesday record is held by "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of 
the King," with a stunning $34.5 million debut. But it would be by 
far the biggest outside of the summer and year-end holiday periods. 
Every Wednesday opening on the all-time top 25 list was either during 
or near the summer or year-end holiday seasons. . . .

Before its release, some industry observers noted that "Passion" 
would play stronger in the middle of the country as opposed to the 
East and West coasts and the major metropolitan areas, but according 
to Schwartz, that has not been the case.

"From what we've seen so far, the numbers look strong across the 
board, and there are no weak spots geographically at this point," he 
said. "We'll have a better idea on Thursday as to where we stand on 
the breakdowns in the different parts of the country."

As an example, Schwartz noted that at New York's Empire Theaters, a 
25-screen AMC complex, the gross was at $43,000 by 4 p.m., while at 
Quail Springs theaters in Oklahoma City, the gross by that time was 
$35,000. . . .

<http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=entertainmentNews&storyID=4441935> 
*****

*****   February 25, 2004
WHEN PHILO-SEMITES ATTACK

. . . .The impression I get from honest reviewers is that Gibson's 
film includes a layer of anti-semitism. It's soft on the Romans and 
Pontius Pilate, and tough on the mob and the local Jewish elite. . . .

<http://maxspeak.org/mt/archives/000183.html>   *****

>[lbo-talk] Jesus Christ! I just saw The Passion . . .
>John Lacny jlacny at earthlink.net, Thu Feb 26 06:18:06 PST 2004, 
><http://mailman.lbo-talk.org/pipermail/lbo-talk/Week-of-Mon-20040223/004372.html>
<snip>
>Every despicable trope of classic Jew-hatred is here, including a 
>sensitive Pontius Pilate who "washes his hands" of the crucifixion 
>after being egged on by the Jewish mob; a Christ who tells the Roman 
>procurator that he has only that power that "comes from above" and 
>that those who delivered him to the Romans have "the greater sin"; 
>and yes, contrary to what some reviewers have written, there is even 
>the line delivered by the high priest Caiaphas where he says that 
>Jesus's blood will be "on our heads and the heads of all our 
>children." Peculiarly or not, this line is simply not given a 
>subtitle, though those who are familiar with the sequence of the 
>story will be able to tell when it occurs even if they don't speak 
>Arimaic.
>
>Historically, we know that this is all bunk. We know, for example, 
>that Pilate was a notoriously cruel governor even by Roman 
>standards, who would never have recoiled from executing anyone if he 
>felt it necessary. We know that there would have been no crowds 
>following and jeering the condemned, no matter how much he was 
>despised by the people -- crucifixion really is arguably the most 
>hideous form of execution ever devised, and it was a tool that the 
>Romans used to intimidate subject peoples. Places of crucifixion 
>were places of dread, and no Jew or other subject person would have 
>cheered on the Romans in public like that.
>
>We know, in fact, that the author of the Gospel of John was a person 
>of some classic Greek education (Platonic and Aristotelian 
>philosophy in particular) whose book is both an embellished 
>"history" and a political/theological polemic against Jews. The 
>Romans were a religiously tolerant people by ancient standards, and 
>they granted Jews a special dispensation from observing Roman 
>rituals, since it was well-known since time immemorial that the Jews 
>were uniquely monotheistic. "John's" polemic is an argument that 
>this dispensation should be revoked from the Jews and given to the 
>Christians as the real continuation of Jewish tradition -- and to 
>make his argument, the author came up with the story of a Jesus who 
>was deferential to Roman authority (divinely-granted authority, he 
>even tells Pilate) but condemned because of the fanaticism of the 
>Jews. "John" in particular stands as refutation of the notion that 
>early Christians were somehow "revolutionary" and subversive of 
>Roman order; whoever wrote "John" was in fact trying to ingratiate 
>himself and curry favor with Roman authority at the expense of Jews. 
>To be fair, this pseudonymous second-century author could not have 
>known that he was writing the most enduring and pernicious "libel on 
>a whole people" ever devised.

-- 
Yoshie

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