How do Catholic priests deal with their human emotions and feelings that surely must conflict with the laws of the Church? Pitiably, is the opinion one may arrive at, after seeing Priest. In analysing this question, the movie brings several controversial subjects (only in the minds of the inanely religious---if you were a bit more open-minded it wouldn't be that controversional) to light. The foremost being the issue of homosexuality. Here, Father Greg is a homosexual and one night he dons on a black leather jacket and goes to a gay bar and sleeps with another boy. The sex is quite explicit and I think it's as erotic as any sex scene I've seen, but I've realised for the most part that extended homosexual sex scenes, except for the novelty, bore me just as much as the heterosexual sex scenes. Anyways, the romance thrives and one day they're making out in the car and are caught by the police. The newspapers have a field day with the sexual orientation of Father Gray. Needless to say his parish and the bishop doesn't think very favourably of him either.

Now, the other priest (Father Matthew) is a cooler character. He is more ready to question Catholic tradition by dancing at funerals, sleeping with his live-in housemaid, and dropping hints regarding what was said in confession.

The other important thing driving this movie is the issue of incest. A young girl confesses to Father Greg that she is being sexually abused by her father, but Father Greg, bound by the oath of confession, cannot do anything to prevent this. The scene when the father of the girl, pressed up against the confessional window, confesses about his incestuous nature is extremely dark and brilliantly executed. With religious fervour, he questions incest being something bad "why have societies all the world put such a taboo around incest when it's supposed to be so wrong? It is because deep down everyone wants to do this."

Thus the movie exposes Christian morality for the travesty it is: a guise in order to get the sheep of society to conform, so property can be separated and the functioning of society can go on unhindered. So those in power can retain it by exploiting the apathetic and ignorant masses. The movie exposes the standard Christian glibness, "but The Bible says so", by using quotes from the Bible itself. Incest, homosexuality, celibacy among priests, etc., were all made to be amoral simply to further the interests of a few morons in power than for any fundamental reason (though incest is illogical in terms of genetics---which explains the hairlips in the Royal family :).

Some interesting points were that Jesus Christ didn't have to rely on faith---he had knowledge. It was certain that he was going to heaven. With that certainty, who wouldn't be willing to hang themselves up on a cross, asks Father Greg. The interplay when Father Greg is screaming at the image of Christ to perform micracles, when the incestuous relationship is being discovered by the mother, was rather well done I thought.

People might argue that this movie is too polemic and it doesn't really succeed in getting a message across since it totally blasts everything and anything the Church stands for. However, this I think is an effective approach. If a single person saw the light (pardon the expression) after seeing the movie, then it would've served its purpose.

Did you know the word scapegoat comes from a Jewish tradition where a community would pass all their sins onto a goat and send the goat off into the hills so they could be absolved all their sins?

Quotes (not exact---feel free to correct me):

"With all the wars and the famines in the world, do you think god cares about what a man does with his dick?"
"I turn to him for help and seeing the picture of a naked man simply turns me on."
"Oh, bugger the bishop! I don't mean that literally, mind you."
"I feel a bit down today, why don't I raise someone from the dead?"

Movie ramblings || Ram Samudrala ||