The Holy Bigotry is a short film by Flint Juventino Beppe.

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The Holy Bigotry

What would the world look like without bigotry, without religion, without violating politics and moralism?
- The process of making The Holy Bigotry has been extremely painful. Nevertheless, I feel this film had to be made.

The composition «Warning Zero» Op.54a is as much a part of this anti-bigotry manifesto as the images are; it is the actual foundation of the film.

My intention with this film is not to prove religion wrong, because that may also be considered bigotry. Instead, I take a look back in history to show some of the dire consequences of religion and bigoted politics.

For me to cope with life, any existential questions must be left open. There may be no definite answers.

Flint Juventino Beppe, director and composer (and narrator)

Interview with Beppe in connection with the new film release

1. How would you explain the title of the film The Holy Bigotry?

– Well, it can be seen as a pun referring to "The Holy Bible", since the Bible is full of bigotry. In this film, the focus is on bigotry; how bigotry clad as religion and politics may develop into manipulation, and even lead to wars. Bigotry can take many shapes, not only on a big scale, but also in everyday situations. You will find it within families and close-knit communities. Religion can split the strongest of relationships. In its most undiluted form, religion will become fanaticism – and this is where it becomes so dangerous. When fanaticism arises within people, the zealots are convinced that their deity communicates directly with and through them. This happens because they actually believe it happens. The kind of euphoria these people experience may make a deep impression and thereby gain a strong foothold. However, this elation is only a part of man´s own imagination, and what comes trailing behind when this euphoria is revealed, might be substituted by the opposite; a feeling of humiliation and complete submission. Nevertheless, man seems to endure this earthly middle-stage as long as there is a promise of salvation in the end.

2. The film opens with a warning about the content. Is it necessary to use graphic images to make a point?

– It is not often that I use graphic images to this extent. This short film, I would say, is just as much a documentary as it is an art film. The photos and paintings are a way to document how innocence suffers when brutal politics or religion strikes: how children and people without much resistance get struck by the very powerful hand of the holy scripts, or the ideas of political fanatics. So in this case, it felt very natural to use graphic images, especially in relation to the very merciless music, which accompanies this narrative. To use censored clips and veiled images to convey a brutal world would simply not be credible.
3. Can you explain the title of the music "Warning Zero"?

– Without revealing too much, the "Zero" in the title might be seen as something digital. In the digital world one operates with the two values 1 or 0. All or Nothing. The "Warning" in this film might be referring to how fanaticism has dire consequences – signified by "0" (nothing) – for people, given the right (or wrong) circumstances.

4. Why do you think religion becomes such a substantial part of people's lives?

– Tradition and culture, combined with low self-esteem, fear and mass suggestion, are keystones in what constitutes the foundation for any religious movement, I believe. When a child grows up in a family where parents, or grown-up role models, bring religion into the child's life, this may alter his or her perception of life and living. Furthermore, it may be dramatic for such a child to renounce the family's religion, since this indirectly also involves breaking up with the family. The whole process of losing one's religion can be demeaning and painful, and in certain parts of the world might even be life-threatening. I think many people actually choose to keep their childhood faith "up and running" to avoid a painful confrontation with what they really believe. This again might lead people to play safe and be selective in what to believe because this is convenient for their lifestyle. For many, it is also safe to believe in an afterlife. These people choose to look away from the ugly realities of religion. And that is something I cannot respect. I think religion becomes such a big part of people's lives because they develop a fear of not knowing, and of not daring to leave questions open and unanswered, without leaning towards an abstract concept of a god. The idea of a possible afterlife is also a captivating one, simply because it is so scary not to know what will happen after you pass away. My suggestion is to wait and see: what else can we do? What you cannot technically know, you cannot know. Why not just settle for this uncertainty? Claiming with certainty that there is an afterlife is an attack on people's integrity and innocence, but claiming that there is nothing is also an attack. It is probably best to say that there is exactly a 50-50 chance you will be right no matter what you believe.

5. Do you think religion will ever vanish?

– The day this earth is demolished, and only then, will religion vanish. Until that happens, I believe that religion has far too firm a grip on people to ever let go. If we look at how much religion has destroyed, killed and violated, and how easy it is to detect the psychological mechanisms of religion, it is very perplexing that people have not abandoned the idea altogether a long time ago. Even when millions are made homeless and masses get killed in religious conflicts, people still cling onto their faith, not daring to say: "I do not know if there is a god" or "I do not know if there is an afterlife". It is easier to fall back on a ready-made road to redemption, and believe in something abstract. As long as there is fanaticism, as long as holy scripts are presented as the "truth" for children, and as long as priests are allowed to preach about heaven and hell, and fear is instilled in congregations, religion will survive.

Religion will continue to be a source of paranoia, bigotry, moralism, wars and terrorism as long as there are people left, and that saddens me greatly.

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Published May 1, 2016

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