Can Political Films Lead to Outrage and Murder? Only if They're Provocations
Political films are meant to outrage, galvanize and incite viewers to action. But something went horribly wrong yesterday when Islamic protests at the U.S. consulates in Egypt and Libya lead to the killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three American staffers, reportedly based on a trailer of an anti-Muslim movie called "Innocence of Muslims."
Currently going viral on YouTube, the 14-minute trailer appears so poorly conceived -- a low-budget ridiculous lampooning of Islam and the Prophet Muhammed -- that one is hard-pressed to take it seriously. But as the stellar box office performance of Dinesh D'Souza's Obama-bashing documentary "2016: Obama's America" has shown, it doesn't take intelligent insights or solid evidence to move audiences; it just takes provocation.
The supposed director of "Innocence of Muslims," Sam Bacile, an Israeli-man based in California, told the Associated Press that he remained defiant, calling Islam a "cancer" and declared that his film was meant to condemn the religion.
Steve Klein, a consultant on the film, said he helped Bacile make the film, but warned him, "You're going to be the next Theo van Gogh," referring to the Dutch filmmaker who was killed by a Muslim extremist in 2004 after he made "Submission," which was meant to shock audiences in the way it depicts Islam's treatment of women.
Referring to the horrible events, Klein told the A.P. "We went into this knowing this was probably going to happen."