Roger L. Simon

Van Gogh? Hollywood Never Knew Him

I have written frequently on here about the curious silence of my Hollywood colleagues about the assassination (for his art) of their fellow filmmaker Theo Van Gogh by an Islamist psychokiller. I’m not sure if it’s willful ignorance or just plain ignorance, but the crime has been persistently ignored by the film community, as if it never happened. No mention is made in today’s Variety either of the trial of the murderer Mohammed Bouyeri who, this morning in Amsterdam, was sentenced to life without parole. Perhaps I am being hasty and something will appear tomorrow, but I doubt it. The only trial Variety seems to be paying attention to is Roman Polanksi vs. Vanity Fair, which has far more prurient value but zero social significance and, more importantly, almost no relevance to the art of film and to artistic freedom compared to the decapitation of Van Gogh.

Of course it’s not surprising Hollywood is confused. Social relevance has almost always been associated with the left. But now the game has changed. It’s very hard for people in their lives to make even a small shift, particularly those who have been so rewarded, financially and narcissistically, for their views. So don’t expect much in the way of cinema that relates to global reality, especially from the mainstream.

As for the Van Gogh sentencing, PeakTalk has moving comments about the murdered filmmaker. Pieter Dorsman, fluent in Dutch, has done a vastly better job than Variety covering the trial by himself at his Vancouver blog. (via Glenn)