Sunday, January 27, 2013

From Here to There



The other night on NPR, I heard a story about the Sundance Film Festival, and  some push-back it had received from a conservative think tank in Utah, where the festival is held. Some of the folks at the think tank don't like the idea of state subsidies to the festival, in particular because of the nature of some of the films shown there. Paul Mero, president of the think tank had this to say: 

"A lot of these film festivals are held in major cities and elite enclaves. In those circles, maybe it complements their values," Mero says. "But these highly sexualized films don't complement the values of most Americans, let alone Utahans."

Robert Redford, who started the festival, responded by pointing out all the economic benefits Utahans get from the festival and the influx of visitors. But I wonder whether Mero is right that the films "don't complement the values of most Americans," and I wonder how he would know that.
Meanwhile, back in the elite enclave of Chicago, my husband and I just went to see The Book of Mormon. It was enormously energetic and well-done and clever, and it's wildly irreverent and also wildly popular--sold out every night, run extended now until September. But what struck me the most about it (and actually pleased me the most) was how enthusiastic the audience was at the complete gloves-off irreverence.
So as we rode home on the El that night after the show, and in the days following, I was exuberantly celebrating the thought that I live in a place and a time when people don't have to be afraid to push things to the very edge. At at the very same time, back in Utah, it was a different story. 

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