Devout Catholics have picketed movie theater screenings of "Paradise: Faith," part two of Austrian director Ulrich Seidl's trilogy, in New York and Los Angeles. The film was recently released by Strand Releasing.
The button-pushing film involves a deeply Catholic woman who is married to a disabled Muslim man and features provocative images which some Catholics have called "blasphemous."
Protesters congregated outside of the Village East City Cinemas in Manhattan's East Village and the Silent Movie Theater in West Hollywood holding signs.
"Defamation is Not Free Speech" and "Why the endless insults to Jesus?" were just two of the sayings on protesters' placards.
According to The America Needs Fatima blog:
On very short notice TFP-America Needs Fatima representative, Michael Whitcraft, called friends of Our Lady to pray a Rosary of Reparation in front of the Silent Theater on Wednesday night, Aug. 29, against this very offensive movie....
The protest consisted in praying the fifteen decades of the rosary, some other prayers (especially the St. Michael prayer) and the Litany of Our Lady. Our people spread out single to double file to cover the entire front of the cinema.
We were very happy and consoled to be able to offer this public act of reparation against such a terrible pornographic attack on the Holy Crucifix of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The blog called the film "a terrible pornographic attack on Jesus’ crucifix," because of a scene in which the protagonist masturbates with a crucifix.
In his review of the film at The Playlist, Oliver Lyttleton anticipates the response from the religious right:
Annamaria stumbles across an orgy in the park, featuring real penetrative sex, while there’s one scene later featuring religious imagery that would have the moral majority up in arms if there was ever any chance of them seeing it (not that that’s stopped them, historically).
In an interview with Indiewire's chief film critic Eric Kohn during last year's Berlin International Film Festival, Seidl said of "Paradise; Faith," "On the one hand, some audiences will say, 'Too bad this film isn't provocative. On the other hand, some of them will fear the provocation. The films are made now. It's up to them."