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Film Festivals Now Afraid to Showcase Films That Might Anger the Woke

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Fresh evidence that the Left is totalitarian and brooks no dissent from its agenda comes from the wonderful world of cinema. Film festivals in general have been fairly far to the Left ever since they began operating, but now they’ve become positively Maoist in their determination to march in lockstep with the woke agenda. The hardening comes as a result of a dutifully Leftist film unexpectedly becoming the target of the woke guardians of acceptable opinion, and consequently savaged and destroyed. Now the film festivals have been put on notice: no ideological deviation, even of the smallest kind, is allowed.

This has been no trivial shift. In fact, it has been so conspicuous that even Variety, always a reliably Leftist organ, took note of it Wednesday in a lengthy piece entitled “Why Film Festivals Are Steering Clear of Controversial Movies.” Variety explains that the new rush to ideological conformity began with the controversy in early 2022 over a documentary film called Jihad Rehab at the Sundance Film Festival. The film “earned critical raves during its run at the virtual festival a month earlier but was being targeted by a small group of vocal detractors.”

Those detractors insisted that Jihad Rehab, which “depicts a handful of Guantanamo detainees who have been released from the U.S. prison into a 12-month Saudi de-radicalization program,” was “Islamophobic” and thus should not have been showcased at Sundance (or anywhere else, for that matter). This charge was odd in light of the fact that the film’s director, Meg Smaker, explained that the whole idea was to make the audience sympathetic to the terrorists: “What we intended in the film was that these three guys’ personal journeys are going to challenge audiences’ stereotypes about who these men actually are. Hopefully it takes away the simplistic stereotyping and gives their lives value that they haven’t seemed to have before in our national narrative.”

Smaker added, “The film was crafted so that it’s not just a journey for these men. It was intended as a journey for the audiences who see it.” A journey to Leftism and anti-Americanism: “I knew that the alt-right in the U.S. were probably going to come after us, and I’m sure they still will.” She explained that the “horror” of Guantanamo was “essentially what the film is about.” The film uses the word “terrorist” of its subjects, but only in order to “invert its meaning.”

That means that the terrorists were the good guys, and those fighting the terrorists were the real terrorists. This sounded like a film that the Sundance audience would love, but it was attacked “on social media for the fact that the film calls the men ‘terrorists’ and because Smaker herself is not Muslim.” Also, “some Muslim critics noted that the use of the word ‘Jihad’ in the film’s title misappropriates the term despite its wider meaning in Islam.”

There is more. Read the rest here.

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