Franco Zeffirelli Pulls Movie From Film Festival to Protest Scorsese's Last Temptation of Christ Hot

Franco Zeffirelli Pulls Movie From Film Festival to Protest Scorsese's Last Temptation of Christ

Franco Zeffirelli

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Italian director Franco Zeffirelli announces that he is pulling his movie The Young Toscanini from the Venice Film Festival because Martin Scorsese's "The Last Temptation of Christ" is also being screened there this year.

Scorsese's film, which is based on Nikos Kazantzakis's 1953 novel, includes a scene where Jesus Christ is tempted by the desire to have sex, get married, and raise a family — but the temptation of lust is depicted graphically, which is creating outrage with fundamentalist and conservative Christians around the world.

At first, Zeffirelli simply insists that he doesn't want his film to be overshadowed by the controversy surrounding another film:

"I have no intention whatsoever to get mixed up in the scandals, controversies and protests that will mark the next Venice film festival. ...

I want more distance between the two films. I don't want to be caught up in the fights, the storm, the polemics that will follow the screening of Scorcese's film.

It's a question of scheduling, and I put scheduling as a condition."

However, the director of the television mini-series "Jesus of Nazareth" claims to have seen the film and calls it "truly horrible, completely deranged" and "outrageous and offensive to Christian values." He also says: "What I find insufferable is the provocation this film presents for the Catholic and Christian world." This suggests that his problem goes quite a bit further than mere scheduling concerns.


Franco Zeffirelli's Jesus of Nazareth

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