Singer, Songwriter and International Hollywood/Nollywood actor, Ojayy Wright has released his first single titled ‘Buy and Sell’ featuring Africas’s top female singer, Chidinma, off his most anticipated EP titled “37 Degrees in Lagos.”
But Supreme Court president Dias Toffoli said on Thursday that Netflix should be allowed to continue streaming the show, stating that freedom of speech was fundamental in a democracy.
“One cannot suppose that a humorous satire has the ability to weaken the values of the Christian faith, whose existence is traced back more than two thousand years, and which is the belief of the majority of Brazilian citizens,” the judge said.
Why has the film caused uproar?
The parody film, which was run as a Christmas special, was created by Brazilian YouTube comedy group Porta dos Fundos.
Many of the country’s conservative Christians were angered by the portrayal of Jesus bringing home a boyfriend named Orlando to meet his family, while Mary and Joseph plan him a surprise 30th birthday party.
On Christmas Eve, a group attacked Porta dos Fundos’s office in Rio de Janeiro with fire bombs.
One man suspected of having been part of the attack has fled to Russia, and Interpol are working to arrest him.
Why was it banned in the first place?
A judge in Rio de Janeiro ordered Netflix to take the film down on Wednesday.
Judge Benedicto Abicair said his temporary decision would appease angry Christians until a final decision was made by a higher court.
“Exhibiting the ‘artistic production’… may cause graver and more irreparable damage than its suspension,” the judge said.
Porta dos Fundos said in a statement that it “opposed any act of censorship, violence, illegality, authoritarianism” and would continue to air its work.
Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro once said he would rather have a dead son than a gay son.
His son, Eduardo Bolsonaro, called the Netflix show “garbage” on Twitter, adding that Porta dos Fundos “do not represent Brazilian society”.
On the surface, you might think war film 1917 would have little in common with the music video for Wannabe by the Spice Girls.
But you’d be wrong.
Sir Sam Mendes’s two-hour World War One epic is notable not just for its Oscar momentum and critical acclaim, but also for the fact it appears to have been shot in one continuous take. No cutaways, no scene changes, just a single, floating shot.
The camera follows Lance Corporals Schofield and Blake (played by George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman) as they risk their lives by crossing enemy lines. The pair must deliver a crucial message to stop their comrades walking into a deadly trap.
Their mission is slightly more dangerous than the one undertaken in 1996 by the Spice Girls, who were followed by a single camera from room to room as they caused chaos at a London hotel, but the principle is the same.
“You want to lock the audience together with the central characters, creating the feeling that they can’t get out,” explains Sir Sam, who has also directed American Beauty and the James Bond films Skyfall and Spectre.
“But when we did the first preview screening, you could feel that visceral sense in the audience of being connected, moment by moment, and I think that is something to do with the one shot, and the fact you can feel the time passing.”
But this treatment isn’t without its issues.
Perhaps the most problematic moment of filming 1917 was what Sir Sam refers to as “lighter-gate” – a scene where a faulty prop meant having to re-shoot an entire sequence.
“Andrew, in his only scene, made more mistakes than anyone else,” Sir Sam affectionately jokes, referring to Fleabag star Andrew Scott, who was required to light a cigarette during his brief appearance in the film.
“Never smoke, ever,” Scott picks up. “On anything – on stage, on screen – never use a cigarette lighter.”
Sir Sam expands: “You can have seven minutes of magic, and then if someone trips, or a lighter doesn’t work, or if an actor forgets half a line, it means none of it is useable and you have to start again.”
Scott felt particularly bad given he plays a minor character, pointing out: “You have to work alongside the camera team and the extras but the great challenge of it is you don’t want to mess it up, because you’re only in it for five minutes, you don’t want to be that guy.”
“There were days where we did see-saw between thinking ‘why are we doing this to ourselves’, and thinking ‘this is the only way to work’. The feeling when you got it was so great, that you wanted to do it again. But there were some tough days.”
While very few films and music videos are genuinely captured in a single take, a bit of camera trickery and skilful editing helps make it look like they were.
As anyone who watched recent BBC drama The Capture will know, something like a bus passing in front of the camera can be a clever way to make a cut or stitch together two takes, without the viewer noticing the transition.
The finished product allows the viewer to feel like they’re going on one long and uninterrupted journey with the characters – and it’s a tactic which has been used a great deal in film and TV.
Birdman, which won the Oscar for best picture in 2014, is probably the most recent and high profile example of the one-shot technique. Viewers follow a faded US actor, played by Michael Keaton, through an emotional tail-spin. Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu said he shot it to look like one take because he “wanted this character to be submerged in an inescapable reality”.
Fans of Sam Mendes will know he dipped his toe in the one-shot waters for the opening sequence of Spectre, which follows Daniel Craig’s James Bond as he climbs out of a hotel room window in Mexico City to chase after a villain. “It was a very visceral way for the audience to be sucked into the film,” said cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema.
Lost In London was particularly ambitious. Woody Harrelson’s directorial debut was filmed in London in the middle of the night back in 2016. It used only one camera, in what genuinely was one single take, and was broadcast live to 500 cinemas in the US. The whole project was almost derailed when Waterloo Bridge, one of the key filming locations, was closed hours before the shoot.
Going much further back, Alfred Hitchcock’s 1948 film Rope was shot not only in one continuous take, but remained in one single location for the entire film – a Manhattan apartment where a murder takes place.
When it comes to music videos, there are hundreds of examples. A few, like Alanis Morisette’s Head Over Feet, genuinely were shot in one take – which was quite easy in that particular case as the entire video is just a close-up of Morisette’s face as she sings.
Veteran cinematographer Roger Deakins recalls: “[Mendes] sent me the script, and on the cover page it said ‘this is envisioned as a single shot’, and I said to my wife ‘that must be a mistake’. We did a lot of rehearsals and a lot of testing… it wasn’t until a few days before shooting that we felt it was makeable.”
So how many different takes were involved, only for them to be stitched together to make the film look seamless?
“That’s a secret!” laughs Deakins. “But you can probably work it out. We shot around 65 days, and the longest take was around nine minutes, so you could do the math.
“The major difficulty,” he continues, “was getting across the terrain, and doing some of those really intense, sensitive scenes, and making it all feel like a single piece.
“So you’re using a lot of techniques – stabiliser systems, wire cameras – but I think for me the trick was to try and make it feel like one camera all the time. That was the biggest challenge. That and the weather.”
Netflix filed an appeal to Brazil’s highest court Thursday after a judge issued a temporary injunction for the streaming service to pull a comedy that depicts Jesus Christ in a gay relationship.
The film entitled “The First Temptation of Christ”, by the Brazilian production company Porta dos Fundos, came out on December 3 and drew strong criticism from conservative politicians in the mainly Catholic country, the church itself and from evangelicals.
It depicts Jesus returning home with his boyfriend Orlando after 40 days in the desert, as Mary and Joseph plan a surprise party for Jesus’s 30th birthday. The satirical comedy was still available on Netflix Thursday.
“We strongly support artistic expression and we will fight to defend this important principle, which is the heart of great stories,” a spokesperson for the on-demand platform told AFP.
Supreme Court Justice Gilmar Mendes is handling Netflix’s appeal, according to the court’s website.
In a statement, Porta dos Fundos said it “opposed any act of censorship, violence, illegality, authoritarianism” and vowed to continue broadcasting its work.
On Christmas Eve, the production company’s headquarters in Rio de Janeiro were attacked with Molotov cocktails. No one was hurt. Police said several men with their faces covered took part in the assault.
Police have identified Eduardo Fauzi as a suspect after analyzing security camera footage. He fled to Russia.
The federal police asked Interpol Tuesday to issue a “Red Notice” for Fauzi, Brazil’s state media reported on Wednesday.
Fauzi still did not appear on the public list Thursday. A “red notice” is a request to police across the world to provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender or similar legal action. It is not an arrest warrant.
Federal police did not immediately respond to AFP’s request for comment.
Judge Benedicto Abicair said Wednesday he was ordering the film yanked for now so as to calm tempers until courts can consider the broader merits of a suit against the movie brought by a Catholic association called the Don Bosco Center for Faith and Culture.
Porta dos Fundos is an award-winning comedy producer founded in 2012. It garnered an international Emmy in 2018.
But black and minority ethnic (BAME) women are being left behind, the annual report also suggests.
Films on the list include Avengers: Endgame, Captain Marvel, Joker and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.
Compiled from information from Box Office Mojo, the study said that 43% of the biggest movies had a male lead, while titles with equal male/female leads or ensemble casts accounted for the remaining 17%.
Film critic Dr Rebecca Harrison told the BBC the increase of representation in leading women on screen is “great” for megastar white actresses like Brie Larson, Angelina Jolie and Renee Zellweger, as well as Scarlett Johansson and Margot Robbie – who received two Bafta nominations in the same category this week. But “for women of colour” she added, “representation is still appalling”.
The main female characters in question proved to be white 68% of the time, compared to their black colleagues (20%). Asian women made up 7% of the roles and Latina women 5%.
“The intersectional oppressions are alive and well,” said Dr Harrison.
The survey – which began in 2002, when big female lead roles were at a lowly 16% – arrives after a week of criticism around the unfair treatment of women and BAME people, either side of the camera.
It’s a Man’s (Celluloid) World, which is the name of the study, suggested that in films with at least one female writer and/or director, 58% of the main characters were female.
That figure dropped to 30% in films made by men.
Last week the Golden Globes again did not recognise any women in their five-strong all-male pool for best director – won by Sam Mendes for his war epic, 1917. And this week no women were nominated in the same category for a seventh year in a row at the Baftas.
Bafta boss Amanda Berry admitted she was “very disappointed” by the lack of diversity.
Deputy chairman Krishnendu Majumdar said the lack of female directors nominated was an “industry-wide problem” and they were “fiercely doing something about it” with schemes like Elevate, which supports talent from underrepresented groups.
Dr Harrison believes that while it’s fine for the institutions to say they’re disappointed, they now have to “actively work hard to change the rules” of how the industry operates “otherwise, it’s just meaningless headlines”.
“Michelle Williams was talking the other day at the Golden Globes, and she gives a big empowered speech about how women need to vote for themselves and lots of white women applauded, while lots of women of colour were immediately speaking to the fact that white women have always voted in their own interest and always acted in their own interest.
“I think that you can see that in the film industry.
“One of the arguments in this is that representation on screen improves when diversity behind the camera improves as well.”
She went on: “So if there are more white women getting access to the director’s chair and to production roles, that’s great. But that’s not going to translate into improved representation for women of colour and men of colour, who have also lost out here.
“The one thing that did surprise me slightly was the news that it’s actually studio films where the most positive increases have happened and indie films have gone backwards.”
The academic and author believes the big studios often get “a lot of justified criticism” about the fact that they’re “only doing representation in a kind of a corporatised way”, by using the same safe familiar and sellable white faces.
Female-speaking characters overall, according to the research conducted out of San Diego State University, fell by 1% to 34%.
“If they think that it will improve box office, they will do it. Otherwise they just don’t bother.”
Despite the upward trend at the top, Dr Harrison believes it’s the role of film critics to continue also to hold producers of independent films – “the spaces where women have historically had better access” – to account with regards to diversity in order to keep “affecting positive change”.
‘Did they die at the end?’
The new statistics only analyse female performances in a quantitative, rather than qualitative way, and should therefore be approached with caution.
Female characters were far less likely to have leadership roles or identifiable jobs than their male counterparts, the study said, with 26% of women in leadership roles, compared with 74% of men.
The Bechdel test is often used as a measure of the representation of women in fiction and begs questions like – does the piece have at least two named women in it, who talk to each other about something besides a man.
At last year’s Cannes Film Festival, director Quentin Tarantino shut down one journalist’s attempts to ask him about the fact Margot Robbie had relatively few lines in his Golden Globe-winning Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood.
Dr Harrison said: “It’s all well and good saying, ‘OK women were protagonists in 40% of the films’, but we don’t really know what their role was in those films without looking at the kind of qualitative textual analysis that goes on, beyond just the numbers,
“So were these women protagonists in films being represented in a positive way? Did they die at the end? Were they the survivors of some kind of horrific sexual abuse on screen? Were they given lots of dialogue?”
“I think all of these conversations are always about trying to find a balance between celebrating the positive, but also making sure that we’re constantly paying attention to areas for improvement,” she concluded.