Movie on Darwin Too Controversial for United States

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The Telegraph reports that a movie with rave reviews internationally is not appearing in the United States because it is too controversial. The movie deals with Charles Darwin and evolution:

Creation, starring Paul Bettany, details Darwin’s “struggle between faith and reason” as he wrote On The Origin of Species. It depicts him as a man who loses faith in God following the death of his beloved 10-year-old daughter, Annie.

The film was chosen to open the Toronto Film Festival and has its British premiere on Sunday. It has been sold in almost every territory around the world, from Australia to Scandinavia.

However, US distributors have resolutely passed on a film which will prove hugely divisive in a country where, according to a Gallup poll conducted in February, only 39 per cent of Americans believe in the theory of evolution.

Movieguide.org, an influential site which reviews films from a Christian perspective, described Darwin as the father of eugenics and denounced him as “a racist, a bigot and an 1800s naturalist whose legacy is mass murder”. His “half-baked theory” directly influenced Adolf Hitler and led to “atrocities, crimes against humanity, cloning and genetic engineering”, the site stated.

The film has sparked fierce debate on US Christian websites, with a typical comment dismissing evolution as “a silly theory with a serious lack of evidence to support it despite over a century of trying”.

Jeremy Thomas, the Oscar-winning producer of Creation, said he was astonished that such attitudes exist 150 years after On The Origin of Species was published.

“That’s what we’re up against. In 2009. It’s amazing,” he said.

“The film has no distributor in America. It has got a deal everywhere else in the world but in the US, and it’s because of what the film is about. People have been saying this is the best film they’ve seen all year, yet nobody in the US has picked it up.

“It is unbelievable to us that this is still a really hot potato in America. There’s still a great belief that He made the world in six days. It’s quite difficult for we in the UK to imagine religion in America. We live in a country which is no longer so religious. But in the US, outside of New York and LA, religion rules.

Update: Deal to distribute film in the United States now anticipated by the end of this week.

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7 Comments

  1. 1
    Melany says:

    I had not realized that we (United States) were that backward.  Does this feel like censorship? Did they only poll republicans? There really are more deep thinkers than those in New York and LA.  Religion does not rule but it looks like gutlessness does.  This makes me so angry, once again stuck on stupid.

  2. 2
    Eclectic Radical says:

    If I were capable of being funny (I’ve tried, it isn’t pretty) I would say, Melany, that most of us who believe in evolution are too busy at work to take the time to answer poll questions on the topic. ;)
     
    More seriously, I do believe that some of these polls are deliberately engineered so that those of us in what we used to call ‘the mainstream of modern thinking’ feel shocked, appalled, and superior at the nation’s backwardness… OR that we feel frightened of the Christian jihadist majority surrounding us. Depending on who puts it in the field.
     

  3. 3
    Gary Farber says:

    The source for the Telegraph is the producer.  Getting publicity and promoting your film, is natural and normal, and what producers do.  But the fact is that only a tiny handful of British dramas get picked up for major American distribution.  Only something like 2% of the films at the TIFF get picked up for distribution.
    I don’t think there has to be much more involved than  that, much as it behooves the interest of the producer to stir whatever controversy and publicity he can from any angle.
    Most of these fervent fundamentalist Christians don’t go out to any movie, since they’re all full of sin, in any case.

  4. 4
    Eclectic Radical says:

    “Most of these fervent fundamentalist Christians don’t go out to any movie, since they’re all full of sin, in any case.”
     
    Eh, one of the few watchable portions of ‘The O’Riley Factor’ is his occasional ‘Great American Culture Quiz’ in which he plays ‘game show host’ to quiz the other members of the panel on, among other things, movies. So plenty of right wingers like the movies.
     
    Heck, ‘Twilight’ and its forthcoming sequel are based on a series originally intended by its writer to subtly promote teen abstinence in the guise of a vampire story. ;)
     

  5. 5
    Hairstreak says:


    As a scientist I can say with certainty that there is absolutely no requirement that anyone, especially not trained scientists, BELIVE in evolution. It is simply NOT relavent to the theory that it be believed in. Science is NOT a matter of faith. The usefulness of what we’ve learned and figured out based on the idea of evolution has already paid off in huge advances in health science and understanding of how ecosystems work and how species are related and how the biosphere functions. In short, one may or may not believe in anything at all and still your life and the quality of human LIFE has vastly improved thanks to Mr. Darwin’s research and thoughtfulness. Zealous fundamentalists who feel their personal superstitions are threatened by science should definitely steer clear of doctors, hospitals, and any form of modern medicine because modern medicine is most definitely based on what we’ve learned through the study of genetics (thanks, Brother Mendel) and evolution. Next time you feel ill, try a magic spell or homemade cure, oh yeah, and be sure to pray real loud.
     

  6. 7
    Dhiraj Ramakrishnan says:

    Movie on Darwin too controversial for US http://bit.ly/k4OUj

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