Wednesday, December 08, 2004

The books are about the Church; the movie will be about "Authority"

Henry at Crooked Timber writes about an upcoming movie called His Dark Materials, which is based on a seris of books criticizing the Anglican church by a British author named Philip Pullman.

He links to an article in the London Times, where the film studio's decision to remove references to the Church is explained.

Sorry to throw around jargon, but I think this shows what's wrong with Foucault: it's now safer to criticize "Power" than it is to talk about individual instances of the abuse of it.

It also tells us something about the dynamics of representing power on screen vs. in books. The mainstream movies can show an aesthetic of totalitarian oppression, but they can't pinpoint it with any historical precision. Historial details still matter, but only in books.

3 comments:

Nitin said...

heh heh!

I'm wondering which is worse --- religious killjoys closing down cinemas screening films they dont like or motion-picture makers practising self-censorship in order not to give offence to the religious right.

You know what - I still prefer the way they do it in India :-)

Amardeep said...

Yes, what I hate is when the same people will turn around and talk about America as a great Pillar of Freedom. It is, if your film is Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer or Lolita.

Not so much if someone's Church is at issue.

ME-L said...

I'm disappointed, but not terribly surprised. I loved the Pullman books, but he doesn't merely go after "The Church." (The Church isn't the "Anglican" church per se, since it's in a alternate reality.) The heroes of the book refight the War In Heaven -- and they are *not* on God's side. Small wonder that they're changing it for the movie...

*Sigh.* Just once, can't we have an author who refuses the big bucks and lets his books remain books?