Contributing to another thread got me to thinking about one of my favourite movies, and whether I’ve been missing something in it all these years. The film is MONTY PYTHON’s LIFE OF BRIAN (1979). A film I’ve always believed to be about the dangers of worshipping false idols as well as a satire on Roman times, in particular their treatment of early Christians, filtered through a 20th Century British mentality . Early in our relationship, about a year and a half ago, my girlfriend and I had a brief debate about this film. I love it. She hates it. She says it’s blasphemous. I say its irreverent at worst, culturally savvy at best. Months later, the subject came up again in a different context, but we still stood by our viewpoints. She did, however, casually mention that she’d never allow the film in her home, which worried me a bit. My girlfriend was raised in a very Christian Korean household (though not quite Bible-thumper heaven), but has questioned certain aspects of religion for years now. I know she’s sitting on the fence; I’m just curious to see which side she falls off. After she left university and moved out on her own, I think she began to realize what a cmoparatively restrictive environment she grew up in. She certainly has reaped the rewards of a moral upbringing, but she also knows how far it can sometimes set a person back once they have to confront the realities of the world at large. Her questioning nature has made more open-minded over the last few years. I sincerely hope that this will continue for her, because I’m of the mindset that there’s so much more to understand about the world than just religion, as important as it can be to many people, yet I would never deny anyone their right to practise whatever religion they saw fit. I can see the value of it in my girlfriend in many ways. And fortunately, she has not once tried to force her religion upon me, either overtly or subtly, largely due these factors. So far so good... (note to administrators: please don’t take this as an attempt to start a religious debate; this really IS about the movie, I promise!) I know the controversy that surrounded LIFE OF BRIAN upon its release, and how the Church of England (?) and assorted religious representatives publicly and vehemently denounced the film before they had actually seen it, and I easily attributed the furor to the usual kind of socio-political gainsaying that often accompanies the release of such films. I believe the same controvery attended the opening of LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST in 1988 and will no doubt accompany the upcoming Mel Gibson effort THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST (2004), the debates around which have already begun to fascinate me on a pop-cultural level. My girlfriend saw LIFE OF BRIAN when she was about 13, a very impressionable time in her life, especially considering her living environment. I first saw it when I was about 12, but my family had by then stiopped practising religion for some seven years, so while I barely understood most of the humour, I was able to find the film funny due to my fondness for the Python brnad of humour. So I guess my question is this: Is LIFE OF BRIAN blasphemous? Am I the one who’s missing something? My girlfriend claims it makes fun of people who worship god (remember she saw it as at 13), but I simply cannot read it that way. I see it as a film that makes fun of people who worship false idols, and in effect it savagely lampoons our contemporary, celebrity-obsessed culture. I mean, Jesus Christ is never actually seen on screen is he? You hear him, and you see people listening to him (including the people in the back who can’t really hear him and, I think, end up following Brian). The Brian character, while hapless, is clearly shown to want none of the adoration he receives. I think it’s a damning commentary on how easily large groups of people can be led down the wrong path (new-age philosophies, televangelists, questionable self-help programs, Hollywood), but it never overtly implies that any of the long-standing religions, in this case Christianity, is ALSO the wrong path. Wise Christians are visible in the film, and to my knowledge, are not made fun of. However, I suppose in this context, I can understand how the real-life Christians might feel the film was making fun of them in a roundabout way. My girlfriend firmly believes its making fun of all people who have faith. I think it’s making fun of people who have misplaced faith, which is very, VERY common in the modern world. Please remember, I’m not trying to start a debate about religion or the existence of God or anything like that. I believe what I believe and you believe what you believe. I just want to know if anyone has interesting opinions ON THIS FILM. I have the Criterion Collection edition of this on DVD and can’t bare the thought of parting with it, but if it means one day capitulating to save someone a lot of grief, perhaps it might have to be considered. I honestly hope in time, she might be able to re-evaluate this film with the benefit of years. Until then, if anyone can recommend a good hiding place for it, suggestions are welcome... Well, any thoughts, or have I put everybody to sleep at this point?