Friday, 9 April 2010


Thank you Chris, for passing this wonderful piece on to me!!

Food Activist's Life Becomes The Life of Brian.

"After food activist and author Raj Patel appeared on The Colbert Report to promote his latest book, things seemed to be going well, until he began to get inundated with emails asking if he was 'the world teacher.' In events ripped straight from The Life of Brian, it would seem that Raj Patel's life story ticks all the boxes necessary to fulfil prophecies made by Benjamin Creme, founder of religious sect Share International. After the volume of emails and inquiries got worse, Patel eventually wrote a message on his website stating categorically that he was not the Messiah. Sure enough, 'his denial merely fanned the flames for some believers. In a twist ripped straight from the script of the comedy classic, they said that this disavowal, too, had been prophesied.'"

LIFE OF BRIAN is a parody of Hollywood, blockbuster religious films. It’s a satire of organised religion. It’s the Pythons at their most playfully subversive.

I thought I’d watch it again, after a gap of many years and it’s lost none of it’s charm -- it’s delicious irreverence. I couldn’t help thinking of poor Raj Patel and his dilemma of being hailed as the new Messiah. What’s the guy supposed to do? He’s told them he’s not the Messiah, but just like Brian, he is told that his denial is part of the prophesy. His denial confirms that he is the Messiah.

Poor Raj. He needs Brian’s mum! “He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!”

Here’s what the BBC had to say about LIFE OF BRIAN.

A beautiful film, a perfect comedy, and a gentle triumph of silliness over pomposity, self-importance, and intolerance - "Life of Brian" could be the best British comedy ever.

In Judea, a mother tends her newborn child. Lo, from the east three wise men appear to pay tribute to the infant - but they want the stable next door: this is Brian Cohen not Jesus Christ! Rolling forward 33 years, Brian joins the People's Front of Judea, a wannabe terrorist cell out to undermine the occupying Romans. Brian gets roped into their plot to kidnap Pontius Pilate's wife but they run into another terrorist gang on the same mission and everyone is captured while squabbling among themselves.

From the opening scene and the belting Shirley Bassey-esque score, this is Python par excellence. This is the "Catch 22" of cinema, and in its politics, like Joseph Heller, the Python crew refuse to spare anyone. Always threading in and around biblical stories, the plot never contradicts or denies the Bible, it just pokes fun at the hangers-on, charlatans, and pompous officials that organised religion often attracts.

This playful subversion is hilariously shown in the scene where Brian escapes from the Romans by posing as a preacher. At first he is mocked by a crowd of jaded messiah seekers, then they seize on a bizarre interpretation of his words and proclaim him their Messiah. Brian denies it, only to be told "I say you are Lord, and I should know. I've followed a few."

Listverse reports that The Life of Brian, is a 1979 comedy film written, directed and largely performed by the Monty Python comedy team. It tells the story of Brian Cohen (played by Graham Chapman), a young Jewish man born in the same era and location as Jesus Christ who is mistaken for the Messiah.

Protests against the film were organized based on its perceived blasphemy. On its initial release in the UK, the film was banned by several town councils, some of which had no cinemas within their boundaries, or had not even seen the film for themselves.

In New York, screenings were picketed by both rabbis and nuns while the film was banned outright in some American states. It was also banned for eight years in the Republic of Ireland and for a year in Norway (it was marketed in Sweden as “The film so funny that it was banned in Norway”). One of the most controversial scenes was the film’s ending: Brian’s crucifixion. Many Christian protestors said that it was mocking Jesus’ suffering by turning it into a “Jolly Boys Outing”.

1 comment:

  1. Billie- lovley isn't it, poor Raj!!!! I am of the right generation to remember the impact of Monty Python, iniitally on TV. They were condemned long before 'ife of brian; as seditious, irreverent, disgrace to Britain, etc. As a real, young devotee of their sketches, I loved the feeling they were changing perceptions of comedy but more importantly daring to challenge the conventions that post war Britain clung to. My parents generation saw MPFC as lunacy at best and sinisterly subversive at worst!!!Life of Brian seems very mild on viewing now but younger watchers may not understand how it shook so many people up, by no means only churchgoers either! Ultimately we will all believe waht we choose, allwe ask is thr freedom to do so. Ironically of course, that was exactly what the Python team were getting at...........pity so many never saw how simple and true the message was!!!!!!!!! Alex XX