First, an addendum: A couple of weeks ago, Film Forum readers debated whether they like the idea of software that allows viewers to edit out—or transform—offensive elements of the films they watch on DVD. The rise of movie rental services that offer pre-edited tapes has intensified the issue.
This week the plot thickened. The New York Times quotes Warner Brothers president Alan Horn, who points out what might occur if MovieMask and CleanFlicks get their way. "It doesn't sit well with me, frankly, because these people could go the other way, too, with more sex and more violence."
The Times article brings to light yet another detail—something that might dampen the supporters' enthusiasm. It seems MovieMask has more up its sleeve than just sanitizing movies: "If the directors are upset about what they have seen so far, they probably will not like to hear that MovieMask just signed a contract with a product-placement company to insert products into existing films, perhaps even region by region."
What could the effects be of commercials added into movies? Maybe Babette will serve Coke at her feast. Maybe Eric Liddell will run with the help of Nike … or, in the alternate version, Adidas. Perhaps Jesus will go to the wedding and turn water into "all the best" of Ernest and Julio Gallo. Stay tuned.
To End All Wars, a new movie from director David Cunningham, is causing a stir among critics with its powerful wartime tale. It made a splash at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival and was later nominated for Best Feature Film at the Hawaii Film Festival.
Nevertheless, it may cause a different stir in religious communities. Cunningham, son of Youth With a Mission founders Loren and Darlene Cunningham, is an outspoken Christian. So is Brian Godawa, ...1