‘Flynt’ poster

PARIS — “Larry Flynt” is back in court, this time in Paris. A small group of Catholics and a right-wing association will find out today whether a French court bans the ad poster for Milos Forman’s “The People vs. Larry Flynt.”

As the pic opened on Wednesday, Columbia/TriStar execs were readying themselves for the worst. CTSI’s French head, Richard Dassonville, told Daily Variety, “I think we are going to lose.” That would mean that CTSI will have to rush out a new ad campaign. Dassonville said that new posters were being prepared.

What has this small group of religious Gauls hot under the collar is the picture of actor Woody Harrelson as Larry Flynt, in a crucifixion pose, in front of a young girl’s bikini line. At an initial hearing in Paris on Tuesday, lawyers attacked the poster for the use of the crucifixion imagery, describing the ad campaign as a “permanent aggression on the public highway.”

The case has whipped up a storm in a France, with much of the press rallying to the film’s defense and to the concept of freedom of expression. Heavyweight daily Le Monde devoted Wednesday’s editorial to the affair, coming out firmly against the attempt to ban the poster. What has really upset many people is that apart from the 31 Catholics who went to court, the second complaint comes from a group called the General Alliance Against Racism and for French Identity — headed by a European parliamentarian from the far right National Front party.

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