“it is not to be assumed that a humorous satire has the magic power to undermine the values of the Christian faith, whose existence goes back more than two thousand years”
Remember that Jetsons-like idea we had of the 21st century, with all those technological advancements and happy people co-existing? Well, we’re far off from having flying cars and we aren’t any closer to the happy co-existence either.
This time, it was Brazil’s turn — not that it comes as a big surprise these days— to make the world turn its head with bemusement (or preoccupation?). The First Temptation of Christ, a satirical 46-minute production by YouTube channel Porta Dos Fundos and Netflix, was born on December 3, 2019, and it gave nothing but headaches to Brazilian conservatives.
The story depicts an implicitly gay 30-year-old Jesus who comes back home after wandering in the desert for 40 days with a “special friend”, Orlando. Upon returning home, Jesus discovers that his parents, Joseph and Mary, were throwing him a surprise birthday party that included very unsettling news for him.
This production came out during a quite complex moment in Brazil. For starters, things aren’t going very well with regards to freedom of speech, with president Jair Bolsonaro declaring himself a “proud homophobe” and denying to give money to LGBTQ film productions. In addition to the presidents statements, the country is ranked as one of the top five in the world with the highest Catholic populations.
So you won’t be shocked to learn that when controversy knocked on Brazil’s door, Judge Benedicto Abicair ended up canceling the movie without much hesitation. Catholic organizations and more than 2-million signatures were, of course, the bulk of the pressure.
But wait, there’s more! No conflict in this century is complete without a disproportionate attack fueled by rage and an absence of reason. In the wee hours of the 24th of December 2019, a group called “Popular Nationalist Insurgency Command of the Large Brazilian Integralist Family” (just rolls off the tongue, don’t it) threw Molotov cocktails at the Porta Dos Fundos headquarters in Rio de Janeiro.
Later on, a video was released by this ultra-conservative organization owning to the attack and accusing the production company of being “Marxist militants” conspiring against Brazilian families and Catholic values.
Luckily, nobody was hurt and some days ago, Brazil’s Supreme Court, José Antonio Dias Toffoli, overturned Abicair’s ruling. Toffoli stated, “it is not to be assumed that a humorous satire has the magic power to undermine the values of the Christian faith, whose existence goes back more than two thousand years”. OK, well put, Antonio.
Long story short, the second coming of The First Temptation of Christ is imminent and it’ll be around for good unless, of course, there’s a group of people who want to crucify the film for opposing their views.