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Friday, September 24, 2010

30 Days of Blasphemy - Day 24 - Life of Brian





Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979) is must see for blasphemers everywhere. Geeks compete against each other to see who can quote the most lines from this movie. I have not engaged in this activitiy, but I've observed it, and it isn't pretty. A logline is a one or two sentence summation of a movie. I found this logline on IMDb
Brian is born on the original Christmas, in the stable next door. He spends his life being mistaken for a messiah.
I think it ought to be mentioned that the movie is not an attack on Jesus, rather it's a satirical look at the human condition and religion. At one point John Cleese is garbed as a rabbi about to officiate over a public stoning. The crime? Some poor sod uttered the name of Jehovah. In Pythonesque fashion the scene devolves into an absurdist volley of rocks. Another scene has a crowd arguing over a gourd and Brian's sandal as the best symbol for his message. No one is spared in this movie, and that is the theme: We are all idiots.
"You don't need to follow me!," he pleads in exasperation. "You don't need to follow anybody! You've got to think for yourselves! You're all different!"
The crowd responds, "Yes! We're all different!"
And one tiny voice pipes up, "I'm not." (read the full Boston Globe review here)

This movie almost didn't get made. EMI pulled funding for the film just before the team was to go to Tunisia (same country Star Wars was filmed). It seems that someone in the company finally read the script and said something like, Jesus hopping Christ! We can't support this movie. Luckily for our heroes George Harrison cowboyed up the cash for the production (he was a huge Python fan).

Religious nuts loooove controversy because it gets them a lot of free press. Think about it, if there wasn't anyone actively working to irritate the Catholic Church then they would have to make up a controversy. The Catholics, Protestants, and some Jewish groups actively picketed against the showing of the film. The controversy fueled the popularity of the movie even more. There were some countries that banned the movie outright: Norway 1979-1980, Singapore and Ireland 1979-1987. In England various municipalities banned the movie or gave it an X rating which prevented the film from being shown (I guess you need a special permit to show rated X films). I am happy to report good news! Devon, England decided to change its policy and lifted the ban in 2008 - 28 years after the release.

One of the best comedy movies ever...

in Purgatory,

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