Monday, July 20, 2009

Jeddah Film Festival

Good News! One festival down. What we don't need are more film festivals vying for product so locals can feel the warmth of celebrities.

Bad News! Saudi Arabia's cancellation of the fourth Jeddah Film Festival according to Variety July 20, 2009 "may be a victory for hardliners in the conservative kingdom who have become increasingly worried about the gradual relaxing of cinema laws in the country. " Variety's account of the history of clerics' banning cinema is fascinating and worth reading as are many other postings you will find by googling the festival.

Once again art is being perceived as subversive and in being banned in the name of Authority, filmmakers have cause to be proud of their contributions. The subversive quality of art raises film to level above crass commercialism. It is indeed a public art and therefore worth suppressing in the name of Authoritarism. In Iran the censors must OK the film but at least cinema is embedded within the culture of the society, same with China, two ancient and beautiful civilizations known for their rich contributions to the world.

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