The Passion Movie - Question
dcruz at law.usc.edu
Thu Mar 4 08:00:38 PST 2004
On Thu, 4 Mar 2004, Rick Duncan wrote:
> Paul Finkelman suggests that "If the "Passion" were
> not about Jesus, then it is arguable that objections
> to the scenes might indeed pass the "laugh" test"
> concerning obscenity. This strikes me as clearly
> wrong. Imagine a movie about the Holocaust with brutal
> scenes showing the torture and violent murders of Jews
> by Nazis. Obscene? Not a chance. Child abuse for a
> Jewish parent to take her child to see it so that the
> child will never forget? Not a chance.
Paul can correct me if I'm mistaken, but I thought that he was suggesting
that the scene(s?) of The Passion under discussion here could be argued
non-frivolously to meet ONE prong of the state's obscenity statute, not
that the entire film could seriously be maintained to be sans serious
artistic or other value. Rick's other examples (e.g., the Holocaust movie
suggested above or a Nelson Mandela movie I snipped from his post) seem to
me to reinforce the conclusion that none of these would be legally
obscene. But they don't, it seems to me, show that the scene(s?) at
issue, with the flogging and uniforms etc., could not non-laughably be
argued to meet the relevant part of the state statute.
For the record, I have not seen the movie and do not hate it, with a
passion or otherwise.
David B. Cruz
Professor of Law
University of Southern California Law School
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0071
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