Back in 1985, Jean-Luc Godard released a movie called Hail Mary that made Catholics breathe fire. (Paradoxical metaphor noted.) It was a modern-day retelling of the immaculate conception where a woman named Marie gets pregnant even though she is a virgin. But it was also a French experimental film, so Marie has a number of unholy attributes, including a rather foul mouth. She uses words such as "cunt" referring to her own anatomy, and she appears wholly (not holy) unclothed. (Oh, the blasphemy!) I saw Hail Mary at the Roxie in 1985. Why? Because the Catholics were out in force trying to steer people away from it. Would I have seen it otherwise? Not a chance. Did I like it? Not really (hey, I was 18), but I liked seeing it because I got to cross a picket line of religious zealots and tell them just where they could stick their thought-policing.
The Catholics protesting a documentary called Corpus Christi: Playing with Redemption could take a lesson from this: They risk sending more people to see the film by making noise about it, especially in San Francisco, a city that contains Catholics who are openly queer and don't feel one bit guilty about it. (Now there's a stand-off we'd love to see: red-state Catholics vs. San Francisco out-and-proud Catholics.)
At the center of the protest is a play, Corpus Christi, that's the subject of the film. The play depicts Jesus as a gay man living in modern-day Texas. (We haven't seen it yet, but we can guess what happens to him.) The documentary, scheduled to play at the Castro Theatre April 29, is about the play, the cast, and how cast members dealt with the truckloads of protest they got while touring the United States. (Spoiler alert: Some of them find their spiritual beliefs are strengthened by the experience.)
Erika Maldonado tells you all about it on our sister blog, The Snitch. Look for more on this film in our Night+Day section and our online calendar.
Oh, here's one more funny thing: The website Hoax-Slayer in 2010 wrote that there will be no such film called Corpus Christi that depicts Jesus as a gay man in Texas.
"No such movie is about to be released or is in production," Hoax-Slayer writes.
Someone needs to update that.