J Walking

There’s a new movie out – Bella – that is raising a fuss in the Christian community. Why? Barbara Nicolosi, blogging at Church of the Masses puts it this way:

What is going on is a wildly over the top marketing blitz in which the investors in Bella are trying desperately to recoup their investment, by telling good Catholic people that they must support this film to send a message to Hollywood. As with so many other mediocre Christian movies, the only “message” that Hollywood will get if Bella does well, is that the Christian audience has no idea what a good movie is and will rave about anything that remotely mirrors our world-view. And the really sad thing is, that message isn’t true. Most Christian people, like the rest of the world, do know a good story when they see one. So many, possibly most of the folks who are going to dutifully show up to support Bella this weekend are going to be disappointed or annoyed, or generally confused at what it is they are missing that everybody else is raving about. Trust your gut, audience of The Passion, you’re not missing something. There’s just not much in Bella to miss.

Nicolosi’s post is important in principle more than in reality. She hasn’t seen the final cut of the film – she saw the rough cut, saw drafts of screenplays – so she is at a disadvantage… potentially a major one. Bella might be great.
Her broader point, however, is absolutely right. There is this disturbing trend among Christian moviemakers and those who fund them to turn for-profit films into causes when they are really just for-profit film ventures. They may be done with the best of motives and with the utmost of creativity, but they are still about making money. There isn’t anything wrong with that either. But trying to make a “Christian cause” out of a film to try and make money IS a problem.

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