: I was wondering when Mel Gibson’s Passion would open in Europe, where the real fun will begin. It opens on March 26 in the UK and likely in June in Germany and France and, if I’m translating correctly, in Poland.

And, by the way, the official Passion site has been translated into Latin and Aramaic.

: UPDATE: A commenter said he’d read that the movie was not being distributed in France. From Frank Rich’s Sunday NY Time’s column:

Whether “The Passion” will prove quite as benign in Europe and the Arab world is a story yet to be told. It can’t be coincidence that France, where Jacques Chirac has of late called for “zero tolerance” of anti-Semitism, was the only country where the film lacked a distributor until this week, when a Tunisian producer declared it was his “duty as a Muslim who believes in Jesus” to remedy that terrible lapse.

: Rich also takes media to task for giving Gibson an easy ride:

But speaking as someone who has never experienced serious bigotry, I must confess that, whatever happens abroad, the fracas over “The Passion” has made me feel less secure as a Jew in America than ever before.

My quarrel is not with most of the millions of Christian believers who are moved to tears by “The Passion.” They bring their own deep feelings to the theater with them, and when Mr. Gibson pushes their buttons, however crudely, they generously do his work for him, supplying from their hearts the authentic spirituality that is missing in his jamboree of bloody beefcake….

What concerns me much more are those with leadership positions in the secular world

  • Rob

    Where the Real Fun will begin? Are you predicting Anti-Semetic Violence? Or more than the normal amount of Amti-Semetic Violence, for Europe?

  • Jay Gilbert

    I thought I’d read that French movie distributors had passed on carrying this movie, afraid of the incidents it might inspire, especially among its large Muslim population.
    That sounds ridiculous, a movie about Christ prodding Muslims to violence against Jews. But pretty much everything coming out of France lately is ridiclulous.
    Seriously, though, I’m pretty sure I’d read that France — or at least Paris — will not soon be a place where this movie will be seen.

  • No

    Fun? Like the bloodshed the libs expected? (And seem quite disappointed didn’t happen…see AO Scott’s bizarre and defensive reconsideration ‘re-review’ today in the NYT.) My prediction? In traditional Catholic countries in Europe/Eastern Europe…and even Russia…this is going to play stronger than any film since ‘Titanic.’ Good Friday grosses worldwide? An all-time box office record. Catholics are tired of apologizing for everything…especially their beliefs. This is going to be an historic rallying point.
    There’s been a long, underestimated disconnect between the media elite and the people. The Passion is exposing the fissures. (And for readers of Buzzmachine, Stern as well….with Jeff predicting the end of the world and the people yawning.) As for the ‘fun’ JJ is hoping for? Never happened here, won’t happen there. Islamicists will still be spewing anti-Semetic garbage and blackmailing and threatening western democracies, but not because of The Passion, but because they’ve been doing it for years with the tacit–and overt–approval from the left wing intelligensia.
    Check out…the critics, 50/50. The people? More 10/10 reviews from the fans than for any film in history. Disconnect, anyone? Winner? Bush.

  • Faramin

    Jay Gillbert,
    I am not a religious person, but I know that in Islam and Quran, there are lot of talks about Jesus. Jesus is a highly respected figure for Muslims and offending him, is considered as offending Islam. That might explain the relation you were wandering about.

  • Jeff Jarvis

    Jay: From Frank Rich’s column in the Sun NY Times:

    It can’t be coincidence that France, where Jacques Chirac has of late called for “zero tolerance” of anti-Semitism, was the only country where the film lacked a distributor until this week, when a Tunisian producer declared it was his “duty as a Muslim who believes in Jesus” to remedy that terrible lapse.

  • Scott

    The German site you linked is out of date. The start of The Passion in Germany has recently been moved up to March 18.

  • Charlie (Colorado)

    Rich also takes media to task for giving Gibson an easy ride:….
    Wow. I’d hate to see what it’d be like if they were giving Gibson a touch time.

  • Heiko Hebig

    Call me naive, but I really don’t expect any “real fun” with Passion.

  • No

    THIS IS RICH!!! (Yes, pun intended.) Not one Catholic was ever allowed to write a single commentary/editorial in the NYTimes defending or presenting the ‘Catholic’ viewpoint on the month-long controversy re: ‘Piss Jesus’ (aka ‘Piss Christ”) exhibit in NYC. Funded, by the way, with our tax dollars via the NEA. RICH in particular mocked Catholics for their over-sensitivity…’it’s art, get over it, Catholics.’
    Funny, RICH found Catholics identifying him as an insensitive member of another religion offensive! Now he’s wants to be identified by same to bash a Catholic! Oh, that’s RICH!

  • John

    So far the ratio of publicity to pogrom surrounding Gibson’s movie is really low — in fact, your average person would call it non-existant. I think a lot of this is because many of the cultural “elites” like Frank Rich have watched too many late night showings of “Inherit the Wind” and picture the masses out their as a bunch of fervent yahoos who are going to see this movie and immediately go out and become secular bigots.
    Compare that with what happened 27 years ago, when the movie “Muhammad Messinger of God” came out. The Hanafi Muslim sect seized the District Building, the Islamic Center and the B’nai B’rith Building in Washington, D.C., resulting in the death of one hostage. There was considerable commentary about that story, post-incident, but nowhere near the amount of ink and digital bytes expended on “The Passion.”
    Of course, as a prdominantly Judeo-Christian nation, a movie about Jesus is going to interest more people than a film about Islam’s founder. But so far the worst thing that has been reported in connection with the movie that I’ve found is that idiotic preacher in Denver who posted an anti-Jewish message on his sign board the day the movie debuted. That’s a slim reed to base any “crisis” on, and unless something new comes up, the pundits need to give it a rest and start talking about something more pertanent to the nation today, like Kerry’s VP possibilities or March Madness betting pools…

  • Ironic Distance

    I think that Gibson would have received a more vigorous defense on this blog if he included a scene of Jesus telling Simon the Cyrenian that he smelled like watermelons. “done movin’ dis heauh cross fo you, boss. I’m a’goin’ to eat me some monkey brains.”
    Then we could claim that anyone criticizing Gibson was uptight and, hey, if you don’t like the movie… DON’T SEE IT!

  • Jeff Jarvis

    ‘Ironic’: Gibson is quite free to make his horrid movie and I am quite free to call it horrid. I have never and would never suggest that anyone should prevent his movie from being shown (well, except for that teacher who showed an R-rated religious movie to 11-year-olds in a public school). No one is preventing anyone from seeing Gibson’s movie. But the government is trying to prevent us from hearing popular shows on radio because the government thinks it is in a position to decide what we should and should not hear. That is not government’s role, constitutionally.

  • br

    Although I admittedly don’t care much for religion or this debate, I found this op-ed by Frank Rich interesting to reread in light of his current arguments.
    Also, I would like to point out one salient fact that I have not seen mentioned in any review I’ve read and that is Simon of Cyrene who helps Jesus bear the burden of the cross is himself Jewish. I think this makes the portrayal of the Jews more complex than the base (and rather coarse) arguments being bandied about.

  • No

    Simon is not only Jewish…but rather ‘black’…or perhaps an African Jew. (Traditionally, he has been depicted in paintings and ‘myth’ as black.)
    Jeff is way off base in the HS and Mel comparison. Mel paid for his own ‘speech’ by self-financing his ‘program’ and selling the subsequent product to exhibitors who maintain (via MPPA) a self-censorship system. They didn’t have to buy his film by the way…production and distribution has been separated from exhibition since the Supreme Court issued the Paramount Decree of Divorcement. HS is an employee of a large corporation that operates within the rules and regulations of the FCC decrees (of ‘censorship’) voted on by Congress and subsequently affirmed through a variety of court decisions. HS…and to be fair, many others…have been operating way outside the bounds of decency policed by the FCC decrees for years.
    Film has been affirmed an ‘artistic medium of free speech’ 1952 (Joseph Burstyn v Wilson and Boad of Education) Radio has NEVER been legally affirmed as a medium of unlimited free speech.
    And Jeff, you may be surprised to find that in Supreme Court cases citing this precedent Renquist, White, Thomas voted for fewer restrictions in this area! (City of Cincinnati v Discovery Network, 1993.)!!!!

  • No

    And…I should have added, Jeff, greater restrictions on the disemination re: free speech in the Cincinnati case were affirmed by the majority (leftists) Blackmun, O’Connor, Scalia, Kennedy, Souter . Interesting, no?

  • linden

    It’s ironic that Rich would deplore Gibson for stating that there are a lot of Jewish people who control the media and Hollywood, when his own paper ran an article insinuating that the Jews who control Hollywood will blackball Gibson for The Passion.

  • br

    “This is the classic language of contemporary Holocaust deniers, from David Irving to Mr. Gibson’s own father, Hutton Gibson, a prominent anti-Semitic author and activist.”
    It is also rather ironic that Rich calls Gibson pere a prominent anti-Semitic author when it was the profile in the Times Magaziine that propelled him to such prominence.

  • Yehudit

    “Simon of Cyrene who helps Jesus bear the burden of the cross is himself Jewish. I think this makes the portrayal of the Jews more complex than the base (and rather coarse) arguments being bandied about.”
    No it doesn’t. Jesus was a Jew, and everyone around Jesus was a Jew – he lived in the Jewish state of Judea, for crying out loud. So Simon was a Jew too? Who’d a thunk it? The movie reinforces the idea that “good” Jews become Christians, and that Jews who don’t become Christians have the Devil in them and are doomed. Thus follows 2000 years of Christianity. Not that complex.

  • br

    Actually there is no doctrinal or historical evidence that Simon converted based upon his experience, although some like to impose that condition on him. Regardless of whether he did or not, he is still considered highly and positively by Christians.
    However, I do agree with your assertion that the film is basically nothing more than Christian propaganda, but then again so is the New Testament.