Yesterday when the lights came up, many in the audience -- who were required to sign a confidentiality agreement before being admitted to the screening room -- were in tears. Some were sobbing, we hear.Well it is a compelling story, and based on a best-selling book.
"Heartbreaking," Michael Novak told Gibson. "The Exorcist" author William Peter Blatty called the movie "a tremendous depiction of evil." MPAA President Valenti was perhaps the most enthusiastic. "I don't see what the controversy is all about," he told fellow audience members. "This is a compelling piece of art. I just called Kirk Douglas and told him that this is the movie to beat."
Some people who weren't allowed into the movie weren't as enthusiastic.
The influential Anti-Defamation League, which monitors incidents of anti-Semitism, has been especially critical, pointing out on its Web site the long historical relationship between passion plays and attacks on Jews: "ADL has serious concerns regarding Mr. Gibson's 'The Passion' and asks: Will the final version of 'The Passion' continue to portray Jews as blood-thirsty, sadistic and money-hungry enemies of Jesus? Will it correct the unambiguous depiction of Jews as the ones responsible for the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus?"Everyone reading this should know that I'm a huge supporter of Jews and Israel, &c., but I'm not exactly sure what the ADL wants. Would they be satisfied with a portrayal of 1st century Jews as described in the New Testament of the Bible, or would they only be appeased if the movie shows Jews from a politically correct 21st century perspective?