The renowned Polish film director Krzysztof Zanussi says there is a terrible polarization between the communications media and faith, and that the label Catholic “is not well-liked by anyone in our society.”
Zanussi, who received the prize for Best Director at Cannes, made his comments during the First International Symposium on Cinema at the Catholic University of Valencia, Spain.
The 64 year-old director explained that “in the industry of today it is very difficult because in the last few years I have been more connected with the Catholic Church [Zanussi is an adviser to with the Pontifical Council for Culture], which is hated in the media and in European countries, although less so in America. It is difficult for me to attend the international film festivals and to find distributors, because the label of Catholic is not well-liked by anyone in our society.”
Asked about the possibilities for Catholic directors, Zanussi said, “The possibilities are very few in this world for a Catholic because any relationship with the Church is seen as very negative. I tell my students to not identify themselves too soon as Catholics, but rather to make movies that show their convictions.”
“Even Catholic movie-goers do not know how to help Catholic filmmakers. They look for directors who have achieved success without the support of the Church. Today we are thrilled at the success of Mel Gibson, but when he tried to find support to produce his film, he didn’t find any,” added the director.
Zanussi said the polarization between the media and Christians is because “Catholics don’t love the media and the media do not love Catholics. This has led the religious public to expect little from art and this is terrible.”
“The Church contributed greatly to the film industry in the ‘50s in Italy and Spain, with parish theaters and spiritual direction for film makers. But today, when I talk to priests, they say they are tired. As far as young committed Catholics are concerned, they have decided to take more interest in the mass media,” he added.
On the other hand, the director recalled, “All of Europe needs a new vision of the world, because it is in a moment of crisis. Consumerism has lost its fascination. Today’s slogans no longer interest young people. I sense the beginning of a new wave of optimism which will take the place of post-modern cynicism.”
“The new generations are more enthusiastic, more idealistic and they have more faith, not in man, which is always a weak faith, but rather in God. The experience of totalitarianism in the 20th century has confirmed that we are weak and capable of doing terrible things if we do not rely upon God,” Zanussi said.