Maleficarum - The Aftermath Maleficarum completed its third week at a commercial movie house. I'm sure it's the last week of its controversial, highly polemic, heavily discussed run. When things slowed down a little, after weeks of radio and TV interviews, after lots of press coverage, our crew took a long break.
Amy and Jac decided to go away to the warmth and tropical weather of Coroico. Amy takes a break in the cool waters of a river. Coroico is the place where Perils of Jane was shot. A favorite spot in the Red Feline World. There's a river with nice falls where the water is cold and clean and where Amy got some relaxing rest during the weekend.
They talked about getting a permanent place in this paradisiacal part of the world, with a swimming pool and a dungeon. They also talked about making a movie there soon. They walked around, while relaxing, checking possible locations.
Even during their vacation they make room for some work. The location is awesome, the views fantastic. A lot can be done there. A room with a view.. Actually a room with a veranda and a view. This vacation came after weeks of hard and stressful work. First the making of the film Dead But Dreaming, then the release of Maleficarum to theaters, with all the fuss that came with it.
Most of it unexpected, as you all know by now. Fresh air, cool river waters, long, very long walks, great cuisine in the tropics, good wine and beer, no Internet at all, no e-mails or phone calls, nothing.
Just nature, bugs, bats, birds, lots of birds Those three days went fast, we're all back in business now. The theatrical release of Maleficarum was a huge gamble for us and we're getting the results of it now.
The film received lots of publicity because of the controversial decision to ban it by the Cinemateca, which resulted in a public debate on the issue of censorship. There were mixed reactions by the audience, some love the film, some hate it. Jac became the most controversial, polemic director of Bolivian Cinema, something that he'll have to live with forever, I think. The theatrical run is almost over. Maleficarum ran for three weeks, which is good, and it's fourth in ticket sales after Avengers, Battleship and Titanic 3D.
Can we dare call Maleficarum a blockbuster? Maleficarum makes the cover of the entertainment supplement of a newspaper. The censorship to Maleficarum was the talk of town, it made the news big time. The backlash was so strong that the Cinemateca was forced to organize a public debate with Jac as the guest of honor. On Wednesday the gloves were on in the Jac Versus Cinemateca match of wits. It was grand, the unthinkable happened. Maleficarum opened a public and national debate.
It's a long story and it needs to be told. It started with a letter. The letter in question had one phrase that set in motion a chain of events that culminated in the debate: Jac cried "bloody censorship" and the press picked it up. When the theatrical release was announced the press made the point that the film was previously rejected by the Cinemateca, that it was censored by a committee. Some of the TV coverage also touched upon the subject of censorship and when a well known journalist wrote a highly critical piece about the censorship things did not look good for the Cinemateca.
The day that piece was published, Jac received a call from the Cinemateca inviting him to a debate on Censorship. Prior to the debate there was one review that appeared in a newspaper where the reviewer trashes Maleficarum, but the article starts saying that the film comes with pseudo polemic and attacks to two well known journalists. It was an obvious attempt to show the film in a bad light before the debate. The morning of the debate Jac was interviewed at a radio station.
He was told that the program was very opposed to censorship, etc. But the interviewer, after saying that he was against censorship, began to attack the movie and Jac. It was an obvious ambush. Later we found out that the interviewer is part of the Cinemateca, in an indirect way.
The Cinemateca's director and her assistant began linking the review wherever they could. So, Jac braced himself for what he believed was going to be a nasty attack on the film.
Specially after he was told that all of the people in the panel had to see the film first. Well, as the people gathered at the Cinemateca for the big event it was clear that Jac was not alone. Many in the cast and crew were there to show their support.
The cameraman and Amy set up cameras to record it. The moderator invited Jac to take his seat, he was very nice, very polite. The debate opened and Jac was invited to open the discussion. He didn't talk about the film, he talked about censorship. The next person, a well known writer, surprised all. Jac was sure she was going to attack the film.
What she did was something else. She said she saw the film and didn't like it and her reason was that she didn't understand the insistence on torture.
After that brief explanation she talked about DH Lawrence and his struggle to publish his novels, those novels and stories that even his closest friends saw as too pornographic to be published. It was an interesting comparison. Jac and DH Lawrence in the same discussion. It was a very elegant way to call Maleficarum pornographic in the tradition of DH Lawrence novels. Another person in the panel, a filmmaker, disagreed. After that the debate turned into a very polite engagement.
When the debate was opened to the audience, one journalist said something that made the people at the Cinematec a turn blue with fear. He said "censorship goes against the constitution" and then said that The Passion of the Christ was censored in Chile but the distributors brought their case to the interamerican courts and won.
And that was the end, basically. The Cinemateca apologized for the wording of the letter, saying that their problem was not the film but their programming and so on. The debate ended in an anti-climax. I've always enjoyed your image-and-detail-laden updates, but Truly, you are the Reine. Dude, you are living every man's fantasy. That is unusual for the movie rating to be lowered, allowing younger people to see it. Could it be that some decision-maker - and it would interesting to find out who it was - saw this film's value as an accurate portrayal of history, and felt there were lessons to be learned from it?
It was very wise for JJ and the crew to meticulously research the background of the film's tale and incorporate their findings so firmly into the art. All that, and GIMP too. The rating Maleficarum received by the people who do the rating here is a recommendation only.
It's not set in stone. The theaters can actually change that if they feel like it and they did. So, young people saw the movie. The reaction to the movie is mixed. Some people hate it, some love it.
One guy complained in a post somewhere, "I paid 25 bucks to see two chicks naked" I bet many people went to the theater after that comment. Ralphus, I remember you are one of the producers of Jac's movie and because of your generosity, this movie has become what it is I wish you really were there to receive that well earned applause. One must not forget about a well written screenplay about star-crossed lovers of the same sex, who loved each other with the willingness to suffer and die for each other.
And the artful acting by the cast and good directing by Jac Avila to show us on the big screen, in very realistic terms what happens to victims of The Holy Office, the Inquisition. That's a nice comment and very true. Ralphus started it all, really.
Jac and Amy were getting ready to shoot Barbazul, Amy's second feature. It was scheduled, the tickets for Veronica were already paid for and she was ready to come to shoot the movie when Ralphus and Amy came to an agreement about the inquisition movie. So, instead of one movie, as planned, we shot three. Barbazul, Maleficarum and Le Marquis de la Croix. The last in that list was made because we had the location, plain and simple.