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Thursday, 2 July 2009

Very naughty Brian lives on

Brian keeps coming back. Not the Messiah, but that “very naughty boy”.

His eponymous film, Monty Python’s Life of Brian, was banned in nearly forty towns and cities when it came out nearly three decades ago.

It’s so hard to believe that anyone could have objected to it even back then, let alone now. But they’re still protesting, and did so in Glasgow this week when city councillors decided to grant it a licence.

It’s such an anachronism that local worthies – many of whom wouldn’t know a good piece of cinema if it hit them between the eyes – can sit in judgement. It’s bad enough that the British Board of Film Classification still does so, but you might just console yourself – a little – that it’s made up of people who are supposed to know what they’re talking about.

Anyway, Brian gets its showing, according to a story in the Scotsman, in September (hard to believe that’s only the month after next!) at the Glasgow Film Theatre.

The paper says:

But Christian groups said the decision to grant the film a 15 certificate was a reflection of declining standards in society, and called it a “sad day”. The Biblical satire, about a Jewish man accidentally mistaken for the Messiah and crucified, was turned down for an AA certificate – the equivalent of the current 15 rating – in February 1980.

Dozens of protesters gathered outside a Sauchiehall Street cinema, where councillors were attending a private screening.

The late Pastor Jack Glass, who spearheaded the protest, famously said the film “crucified Christ afresh” and thrust three nails at the committee chairman, John Chatham. However, the pastor admitted he had not seen the film and was basing his views on a script.

And that is often the case. It happened in the Mid Wales town of Aberystwyth when the mayor – who played the part of Judith Iscariot in the film – wanted to get it shown. It was shown, and you can read about that in the links below. But there was an objection from at least one person who had not seen it.

And – wouldn’t you just know it! – Stephen “Birdshit” Green was invited by the paper to put his four penn’orth in:

But Stephen Green, director of the radical campaign group Christian Voice, which has organised protests against shows such as Jerry Springer: The Opera, said: “We know Glasgow was the last place in the country to keep the ban in place, as the only other area, Aberystwyth, had a screening a couple of months ago. It is a bit of a shame it’s now been granted a licence in Glasgow, but it shows how much we have let standards slip.”

I don’t know whether Green has seen the film, but, if he has, he has obviously missed out on the fact that it actually treats the Jesus figure respectfully. It’s a jokey film with a jokey premise set against a historical backdrop. Had it been set against the historical backdrop of, say, Henry VIII, as Carry On Henry (1971) was, there would not have been a peep of protest.

But there’s no accounting for how the brains of religious nutjobs work.
Related links:
Bring on Brian
Brian is back
About Brian

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You've got to be kidding me, the film is at least what, 25 years old and they still have their underwear in a twist about it?

You'd think these people have nothing better to do.