[Marxism] When the shoe was on the other foot
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Sun Jan 11 15:48:32 MST 2015
NY Times, October 25, 1988
Police Suspect Arson In Fire at Paris Theater
By STEVEN GREENHOUSE, Special to the New York Times
PARIS, Oct. 24— Government officials, religious leaders and film
directors condemned today an apparent arson attack against a Paris
theater that was showing Martin Scorsese's film ''The Last Temptation of
Christ.'' The fire Saturday night left 13 people hospitalized, 1 of them
in serious condition.
The fire, if it proves to be arson, would be the most serious incident
in a series of attacks against the film in Paris, Lyons, Nice, Grenoble
and several other French cities. The incidents have included the
clubbing of moviegoers and the throwing of teargas and stink bombs in
The film, which seeks to show the human side of Jesus and which includes
a scene in which he imagines having sex with Mary Magdalene, created a
storm of controversy throughout France well before the movie opened in
17 theaters in Paris on Sept. 28. The Theater Is Gutted
After the attack left the theater, the Cinema St.-Michel in the Latin
Quarter, gutted, there was just one movie theater in Paris still showing
the film. That theater, the Gaumont Champs-Elysees, was under heavy
police protection. ''Last Temptation'' had opened in 50 theaters outside
Paris, but is now playing in fewer than 20.
''The opponents of the film have largely won,'' said a representative of
Universal International Pictures, which is distributing the film in
France. ''They have massacred the film's success, and they have scared
the public.'' He said that he had expected the film to attract 500,000
viewers and to run for two or three months, but that it would probably
attract only about 170,000 viewers and run just one month.
Jack Lang, France's Minister of Culture, went to the St.-Michel theater
after the fire, and said, ''Freedom of speech is threatened, and we must
not be intimidated by such acts.''
Several ultra-conservative religious groups had repeatedly promised to
prevent the film from being shown. In August, the leader of one Roman
Catholic group, Christian Solidarity, said, ''We will not hesitate to go
to prison if it is necessary,'' to stop what he called a ''blasphemous''
film. Cardinal's Condemnation
Before the film opened, the Archbishop of Paris, Jean-Marie Cardinal
Lustiger, condemned it without having seen it. He said, ''One doesn't
have the the right to shock the sensibilities of millions of people for
whom Jesus is more important than their father or mother.''
After the fire, Cardinal Lustiger condemned those responsible for what
the police suspect was arson. ''You don't behave as Christians but as
enemies of Christ,'' the prelate said. ''From the Christian point of
view, one doesn't defend Christ with arms. Christ himself forbade it.''
There have also been attacks against a new Claude Chabrol film, ''Une
Affaire de Femmes,'' which is about a Frenchwoman who was executed for
performing abortions. A viewer died of a heart attack after seeking to
flee one theater after a teargas bomb was set off.
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