Author Topic: News Coverage: December 2007  (Read 10605 times)

Offline tpe

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News Coverage: December 2007
« on: Dec 04, 2007, 08:20 AM »
This has been in the news since yesterday...

BBM is propaganda?

One can certainly argue for anti-Catholic symbolism in The Golden Compass, but was BBM explicitly ant-Catholic?

From http://www.kath.net/detail.php?id=18378
   
---------------------------------

First Brokeback Mountain, Now Golden Compass

Catholic League Slams US Catholic Bishops Conference Positive Review of Golden Compass - First Brokeback Mountain, Now US Bishops Movie Reviewer Praises Golden Compass - By John-Henry Westen

WASHINGTON, DC (kath.net/LifeSiteNews.com)

Harry Forbes has for many years been the Director of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Office for Film and Broadcasting. In 2005, LifeSiteNews.com pointed out that Forbes issued a glowingly positive review of the homosexual propaganda film "Brokeback Mountain". Yesterday, Forbes issued another positive review, this time for the film adaptation of the specifically anti-Catholic novel "The Golden Compass."

"The Golden Compass," is one of Phillip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy, which includes "Northern Lights" (re-titled "The Golden Compass"), "The Subtle Knife" and "The Amber Spyglass." Pullman wrote these books with the intention of indoctrinating children with atheistic values. Pullman told The Washington Post in 2001 that he was deliberately "trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief."

The USCCB review approves the film even for adolescents, and dismisses concerns about the radically anti-Catholic nature of the books saying: "Most moviegoers with no foreknowledge of the books or Pullman's personal belief system will scarcely be aware of religious connotations, and can approach the movie as a pure fantasy-adventure. . . . Religious elements, as such, are practically nil."

LifeSiteNews.com spoke with the Catholic League about the review. The League has been one of the most vocal groups in warning about the dangers of the books, which will be given renewed interest from the upcoming film starring Nicole Kidman which is to be released next week.

The League did not take issue with the USCCB review praising the film for its artistic merit, but for its winking at the devastating anti-Catholicism of Pullman's trilogy of books of which "Northern Lights", the first one, is the basis for the Golden Compass movie.

Forbes' review says, "The film has already caused some concern in Catholic circles because of the author's professed atheism, and the more overt issue of the novels' negative portrayal of his (very much fictionalized) church, a stand-in for all organized religion."

The Catholic League told LifeSiteNews.com that the review by Forbes and John Mulderig (a member of Forbes' staff) presents an "inaccurate rendering" of the controversy.

"Philip Pullman's books do not portray a 'very fictionalized church,' one that is 'a stand-in for all organized religion.' They portray the Catholic Church. That is why he uses the term 'Magisterium,' (for the evil empire)," said the League.

The League says that the USCCB reviewers were "wrong" to say that it was 'a bit unfortunate' that Pullman chose this term Magisterium for the evil empire. "He deliberately chose it because his target from the very beginning has been Catholicism, not anything else. It was Pullman who said that 'I'm trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief.' Not to accept what the man says about himself shows no respect for his integrity," said the League.

In what the League calls "mind-boggling", the USCCB review actually congratulates the screenwriter for portraying the characters as demonstrating "free will" for their opposition to the Magisterium and then suggests that this is a reflection "entirely in harmony with Catholic teaching".

"To the extent, moreover, that Lyra (the central character) and her allies are taking a stand on behalf of free will in opposition to the coercive force of the Magisterium, they are of course acting entirely in harmony with Catholic teaching," writes Forbes. "The heroism and self-sacrifice that they demonstrate provide appropriate moral lessons for viewers."

The League countered: "Nazis are portrayed as having free will in movies, too. Should the screenwriters of this film be commended for reflecting Catholic values? Free will is indeed a Catholic value, but it is the object of free will that carries moral weight."

The USCCB review admits "There is, admittedly, a spirit of rebellion and stark individualism pervading the story," but adds that "only by defying the powers that be, can a scientist like Lord Asriel achieve progress." Reflecting, Forbes writes, "Pullman is perhaps drawing parallels to the Catholic Church's restrictive stance towards the early alchemists and, later, Galileo."

Of course, Pullman could also be drawing parallels to the Catholic Church's restrictive stance towards embryonic stem cell research, in vitro fertilization, and cloning.

The USCCB reviewers conclude, by suggesting that parents allow their children to not only view the film but also read the books, and "take the opportunity to talk through any thorny philosophical issues with their teens."

"Leaving the books aside," says the USCCB review, "and focusing on what has ended up on-screen, the script can reasonably be interpreted in the broadest sense as an appeal against the abuse of political power."

The Catholic League countered, "to say that the movie should be judged by "leaving the books aside" is to miss the point: The Catholic League has never objected to the film, per se, but we have objected to it on the grounds that it is bait for the books."

The League warns that The Golden Compass is the least offensive of the three books and is bait for the books with "sell atheism to kids in a stealth fashion." The League has produced a booklet against The Golden Compass film's soft sell for the spiritually dangerous book series. Catholic League President Bill Donohue notes that many Christian groups from all denominations have joined in the effort.

Forbes' 2005 USCCB glowing review of the homosexual film Brokeback Mountain was substantially altered after a LifeSiteNews.com readers issued numerous concerns to the Bishops Conference.
 
 

Offline jackster

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Re: News Coverage: December 2007
« Reply #1 on: Dec 05, 2007, 06:36 AM »
tpe: My reading of this is that BBM is cited here only because Forbes apparently gave it a good review too, and that it  showed homosexuality in a non-judgemental light. (I hesitate to say positive light). This is a somewhat poorly written article, I read it several times trying to understand the point.  ^*()  I don't think the intent is to say BBM was specifically anti-catholic, just that since it dealt openly with homosexuality it must not be in the best interests of the Catholic Church. imo
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Offline tpe

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Re: News Coverage: December 2007
« Reply #2 on: Dec 05, 2007, 08:07 AM »
tpe: My reading of this is that BBM is cited here only because Forbes apparently gave it a good review too, and that it  showed homosexuality in a non-judgemental light. (I hesitate to say positive light). This is a somewhat poorly written article, I read it several times trying to understand the point.  ^*()  I don't think the intent is to say BBM was specifically anti-catholic, just that since it dealt openly with homosexuality it must not be in the best interests of the Catholic Church. imo

Thanks Jackster.  I do agree with you.  It was certainly NOT a well thought out piece of polemic.


Offline tpe

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RIP: Marit Allen
« Reply #3 on: Dec 05, 2007, 08:11 AM »


From: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/12/05/db0503.xml

--------------------------------------------

Marit Allen
Last Updated: 2:20am GMT 05/12/2007

Marit Allen, who has died aged 66, was the costume designer on more than 40 films over 25 years after enjoying a successful career as a fashion journalist.

   
Allen: proper film maker who realised who the character was and where they lived

Born in Cheshire on September 17 1941, Marit Allen was the elder of two daughters of Roger Allen, landlord of an hotel at Lymm.

She inherited her Christian name, her hair colour, and her love of craft and design from her Norwegian mother, an exotic, flame-haired beauty who had lit up this rural backwater in the straitened 1940s and 1950s.

At the age of nine Marit was sent off to a prim and proper girls' boarding school; it is not recorded what the staff or pupils made of the red woollen stockings, emerald green skirt and scarlet jacket in which she was clothed on her arrival.

Her sense of colour and style, implanted at an early age, marked her out then, and throughout her career. The school is also reputed to have given her the inspiration for her costumes for Mrs Doubtfire, the Robin Williams cross-dressing comedy based on the Anne Fine novel, which she was to design in 1993.

After studying at the University of Grenoble, Marit returned to London in 1960, just as the worlds of fashion, art, music and journalism were emerging from postwar austerity into the era that came to be known as the Swinging Sixties. Marit was to be at the core of this period, which has since been endlessly dissected.

It is said that she was first discovered working as a lift girl in Jaeger, and by 1961 she had persuaded Queen magazine, then in its heyday under the editorship of Beatrix Miller and the ownership of Jocelyn Stevens, to take her on as a journalist.

Reflecting the new interest and enthusiasm for youth that were evident everywhere she created the "About Twenty" pages with Caterine Milinaire. This was unlike anything previously published in Queen.
 
Three years later she followed Beatrix Miller to Vogue, at the time when a youthful David Bailey was forging his personal and professional partnership with another 1960s icon, Jean Shrimpton.

At Vogue Marit Allen initiated the "Young Idea" pages and took credit for promoting the careers of people such as Sally Tuffin and Marion Foale, Zandra Rhodes, Mary Quant and John Bates.

She captivated Norman Parkinson and Bailey, who then included her in their pictures - a "first" for any fashion editor.

Even the older members of the fashion elite were caught up in her energy and enthusiasm: Cecil Beaton's memorable image of Twiggy on a mantelpiece was the result of Marit Allen's imagination and persuasive powers.

In 1965 her friend Doug Hayward, the bespoke tailor to the stars and the man said to be have inspired the character of "Alfie", invited a film producer friend to a birthday party. It was for Marit's 24th birthday, and a year later she and the producer, Sandy Lieberson, were married.

She gave up her career at Vogue when the first of her children arrived.

While she was pregnant Bailey took a picture of her which was to precede by several decades the infamous Annie Liebowitz image of Demi Moore for Vanity Fair. In Bailey's picture, which he published in his book Goodbye Baby and Amen, the nine-months-pregnant, naked Marit - tiny, porcelain-like and composed - stares out at the viewer, daring him to respond.

Through her husband Marit Allen was introduced to the world of film, and the possibilities excited her. Fashion, for all its thrills in the 1960s, was limited, but in film she could express her love of character and narrative.

Her first job was on Kaleidoscope, starring Warren Beatty and Susannah York. Kaleidoscope's producer, Elliot Kastner, said of her that "she seemed so smart and had such good taste".

Almost all those with whom she subsequently worked - directors, actors and producers - were to echo these sentiments.

In 1973 she started work on Nicholas Roeg's film with Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland, Don't Look Now. This picture, set in Venice, was the first of three films she worked on with Roeg and he remembered her technique with considerable affection: "She made costumes that brought the characters to life."

According to Roeg, Donald Sutherland found his character only on the day when Marit Allen produced a large pair of woolly gloves; he put them on and never removed them for the duration of the shoot.

Marit Allen understood that the key to being an outstanding costume designer in films was not to push oneself, nor ever to be showy or ostentatious. She instinctively understood the observation that "Clothes make a statement. Costumes tell a story."

For her, character and narrative were everything. She read the script of every film on which she worked, searching for the key to the characters, imagining what they would wear at any given time in the course of the narrative arc. As Roeg put it: "She realised who the character was, where they lived, what world they inhabited. She was a proper film maker."

Perhaps it was because she shunned ostentation in her design, always putting the needs of the film before her own reputation, that she was overlooked by the grandees who vote for awards, although she was nominated for a Bafta (for her costumes in White Mischief) and two Emmys.

This year her designs for two films - the Edith Piaf biopic La Vie en Rose and Mike Newell's adaptation of the Gabriel García Márquez novel Love in the Time of Cholera - have been tipped for Oscar nomination.

Marit Allen was the only costume designer to have worked on more than one of Ang Lee's films. She worked with him on Ride with the Devil, Hulk and, in 2005, Brokeback Mountain.

For Brokeback Mountain she, Lee and the cinematographer, Rodrigo Preito, studied Richard Avedon's book Photographs of the American West.

Marit Allen said: "Heath (Ledger) was deeply involved with his character. He worked with his clothes, using everything he wears to convey Ennis' repression - the jackets, done up; the cowboy hats, to hide behind. Between him and Jake (Gyllenhaal) the hats became an integral part of what they were doing."

The colleagues with whom she worked in her costume departments recall her generosity, her passion and her good humour, qualities which survived even the trial of working with Stanley Kubrick. She provided the costume design for his last film, Eyes Wide Shut.

In October she had started work in Australia with the director George Miller on a new film, Justice League of America. When she failed to arrive at work one morning her colleagues went to her hotel room, where they found that she had suffered a brain haemorrhage.

Some days later, on November 26, she died in hospital having never regained consciousness.

Marit Allen's marriage to Sandy Lieberson was dissolved in 1983. She is survived by two daughters and a son.
 

Offline jackster

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Re: RIP: Marit Allen
« Reply #4 on: Dec 05, 2007, 08:27 AM »
Marit Allen
Last Updated: 2:20am GMT 05/12/2007
Marit Allen, who has died aged 66, was the costume designer on more than 40 films . . .
:\'(  :\'(  :\'(
How sad. There were about a million questions I would have liked to ask her.
Like where did that green coat come from?  ;)
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Offline tpe

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Re: RIP: Marit Allen
« Reply #5 on: Dec 05, 2007, 09:37 AM »
:\'(  :\'(  :\'(
How sad. There were about a million questions I would have liked to ask her.
Like where did that green coat come from?  ;)


THis was EXACTLY what I was thinking about, Jackster!


Offline jackster

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Re: RIP: Marit Allen
« Reply #6 on: Dec 05, 2007, 10:24 PM »
More on Marit Allen this from the Guardian

http://www.guardian.co.uk/obituaries/story/0,,2220010,00.html

Marit Allen
Former fashion editor who designed the costumes for a string of successful movies

Marit Allen, who has died aged 66 of a brain aneurism, pulled off a powerful use of movie-costume-as-character in the scene in Brokeback Mountain (2005) in which a lone drifter discovers, in the family homestead of his dead lover, the shirts they wore while cowboying together long before: shabby denim and weary cotton wrapped in each other's arms.
Director Ang Lee could not have entrusted those crucial garments to a better pair of hands. Allen's uncommon strength in supplying costumes for more than 40 productions was in telling a story through clothes. She could run off the major period frock (post-crinoline Scarlett O'Hara for a 1994 TV sequel to Gone with the Wind) along with extreme fantasy (the Incredible Hulk's expanding purple pants in 2003), but they were always grounded in and surrounded by reality.

. . . . She arrived for the first meeting for Brokeback with a book of Richard Avedon's portraits of the west from the 1960s to the 1980s, from which she learned its subtle dress codes. It took obscure sourcing and severe scouring to put together and break apart the apparently simple wool jackets and fake fleece linings, and keep within costs. . . .


Another of the many unsung heros of BBM, one of the many whose talents lifted this film into the realm of greatness.
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Offline chameau

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Re: News Coverage: December 2007
« Reply #7 on: Dec 06, 2007, 12:57 AM »
More on Marit Allen this from the Guardian

http://www.guardian.co.uk/obituaries/story/0,,2220010,00.html

Marit Allen
Former fashion editor who designed the costumes for a string of successful movies

Marit Allen, who has died aged 66 of a brain aneurism, pulled off a powerful use of movie-costume-as-character in the scene in Brokeback Mountain (2005) in which a lone drifter discovers, in the family homestead of his dead lover, the shirts they wore while cowboying together long before: shabby denim and weary cotton wrapped in each other's arms.
Director Ang Lee could not have entrusted those crucial garments to a better pair of hands. Allen's uncommon strength in supplying costumes for more than 40 productions was in telling a story through clothes. She could run off the major period frock (post-crinoline Scarlett O'Hara for a 1994 TV sequel to Gone with the Wind) along with extreme fantasy (the Incredible Hulk's expanding purple pants in 2003), but they were always grounded in and surrounded by reality.

. . . . She arrived for the first meeting for Brokeback with a book of Richard Avedon's portraits of the west from the 1960s to the 1980s, from which she learned its subtle dress codes. It took obscure sourcing and severe scouring to put together and break apart the apparently simple wool jackets and fake fleece linings, and keep within costs. . . .


Another of the many unsung heros of BBM, one of the many whose talents lifted this film into the realm of greatness.


Holly cow I'm a puddle of tears now.  :\'( :\'( :\'(

 Thanks guys for posting these articles.  I recall there is a thread here, somewhere  :s), where Michelle Williams talks about working with Marit and both of them crying when Michelle tried one of the dresses Marit found for her character of the wife of a poor cowboy.  :\'(

Thomas, do you know by any chance where it could be?  I'm thinking about a little tribute to Marit in the next Newsletter.

Sorry for the OT  :-X
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Offline tpe

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Re: RIP: Marit Allen
« Reply #8 on: Dec 07, 2007, 07:49 AM »
Director Ang Lee could not have entrusted those crucial garments to a better pair of hands...

. . . . She arrived for the first meeting for Brokeback with a book of Richard Avedon's portraits of the west from the 1960s to the 1980s, from which she learned its subtle dress codes. It took obscure sourcing and severe scouring to put together and break apart the apparently simple wool jackets and fake fleece linings, and keep within costs. . . .[/i]

Another of the many unsung heros of BBM, one of the many whose talents lifted this film into the realm of greatness.


Beautiful.  Thanks Cham.


Offline tpe

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Re: News Coverage: December 2007
« Reply #9 on: Dec 10, 2007, 08:34 AM »
Interesting assessment.  But if is SO hard to follow in the footsteps of BBM...

I poste here only the intro.  the full article is at: http://www.afterelton.com/movies/2007/12/the_year_in_queer_film

---------------------------------------

The Year in Queer Movies
by Brian Juergens, Associate Editor
December 9, 2007
 

We’re as tired of saying it as you are of hearing it (trust us), but here we go again: the state of gay visibility in movies is about as bad as it’s ever been.

In last year’s Year in Queer Film roundup, I lamented the lack of gay characters in mainstream film and the notable absence of distributed gay independent movies in the year following Brokeback Mountain (2005). That absence seemed surprising given that the young-cowboys-in-love tragic romance appeared to mark a breakthrough, scoring big both critically and at the box office.

This fall contributor Alonso Duralde revisited the topic, and mainstream publications like Entertainment Weekly weighed in on the fact that although Brokeback was a bona fide gay hit and pop culture sensation, the horizon for mainstream American film was as straight and narrow as ever.

Even the traditional desexualized gay best friends and fairy godfathers had mostly disappeared from our romantic comedies and ensemble films. Had Jack and Ennis proved that mainstream America had turned the corner in terms of accepting gay relationships and non-stereotypical characters, and in effect robbed gay characters of their “hook”? Had Brokeback backfired?

In looking at this year’s gay-themed or gay-interest theatrical releases, the pudding’s proof is none too encouraging. 2007 seemed to be a leap backward, with the bulk of gay inclusion in mainstream films making gay men the butt of sophomoric jokes or using sexuality as a means of further demonizing an already loathsome character.

***

Offline tpe

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Re: News Coverage: December 2007
« Reply #10 on: Dec 12, 2007, 08:00 AM »
Another rational voice about to be silenced?

From: http://christiannewswire.com/news/113015061.html

-------------------------------------------------------

Fr. Euteneuer asks Bishops to Fire Scandalous Movie Reviewer
Contact: John Mallon, Human Life International, 405-720-2575, johnmallon@cox.net

FRONT ROYAL, Va., Dec. 12 /Christian Newswire/ -- The Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, STL, president of Human Life International, (HLI) today called on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to fire Harry Forbes, director of the Office for Film and Broadcasting of the Conference, for his positive reviews of immoral or anti-Catholic films on the Conference's Catholic News Service (CNS).

Father Euteneuer said, "I refuse to believe that Harry Forbes, who gave such glowing remarks to the homosexual promo film Brokeback Mountain and the atheist indoctrination flick The Golden Compass, speaks in the name of our bishops. An employee who shames our bishops with reviews of this sort should be fired. He now has a track record and is not worthy to be a public spokesperson for any Catholic let alone the national conference of bishops. I urgently ask the bishops to correct this anomaly at the headquarters and restore the dignity of the conference, which has been sullied by this man.

"There seems to be a decades-old pattern of embarrassment on the part of some USCCB subordinates and other lay officials when it comes to the teachings of the Catholic Church. All too often these scandals involve matters of homosexuality. In 1987 we had the document 'The Many Faces of AIDS' which was problematic on the use of condoms, then in 1997 the scandalous document 'Always our Children' so distorted Catholic teaching that it had to be rewritten after its release."

Father Euteneuer continued, "Then in December, 2005, Forbes's review of Brokeback Mountain with its original 'L' rating for 'Limited' had to be corrected and reclassified as 'O' for 'Morally Objectionable.' The bishops have been embarrassed by their staff like clockwork for almost 20 years. Now, in December 2007, the bishops have had to withdraw Forbes's review of The Golden Compass from CNS after publication. After major scandals involving homosexual clergy, do we really need their movie reviewer now tiptoeing around hostile atheism?

"Let Harry Forbes be the sign that the bishops can break the cycle of subtle and overt dissent among their subordinates. They should show him the door and require all other employees to take an Oath of Fidelity. That will separate the wheat from the chaff," concluded Fr. Euteneuer.


Offline jackster

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Re: News Coverage: December 2007
« Reply #11 on: Dec 19, 2007, 12:25 PM »
. . . I recall there is a thread here, somewhere, where Michelle Williams talks about working with Marit and both of them crying when Michelle tried one of the dresses Marit found for her character of the wife of a poor cowboy.
. . .  I'm thinking about a little tribute to Marit in the next Newsletter.

Wouldn't it also be nice if the AMPAS did a little tribute to her as well during next years ceremonies? Though I'm no longer much of a fan of the Oscars (wonder why?), it would be fitting if they remarked on her passing. I will try an send them an email so they do not over look her career.
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Offline tpe

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Re: News Coverage: December 2007
« Reply #12 on: Dec 19, 2007, 02:11 PM »
Wouldn't it also be nice if the AMPAS did a little tribute to her as well during next years ceremonies? Though I'm no longer much of a fan of the Oscars (wonder why?), it would be fitting if they remarked on her passing. I will try an send them an email so they do not over look her career.

Yes, that would be nice, but like you, the Oscars doesn't seem to matter that much anymore.  A bad taste in my mouth...

I have declined all Oscar-watching Party invitations since the 2006 fiasco.