PARIS — As part of the 20th Rendez-Vous With French Cinema fest, Unifrance Films, Kino Lorber and IFC Center will be hosting a special screening of Daniel Leconte’s documentary “Though Being Loved by Jerks.”
An account of the satirical French weekly’s legal battle for freedom of the press, the documentary has gained new relevance in the wake of the recent terrorist attack that decimated Charlie Hebdo’s newsroom in Paris.
“Though Being Loved by Jerks” is set in the aftermath of the scandal sparked by the 12 cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad that were published by Denmark’s largest newspaper in 2005. A freedom of speech advocate, magazine Charlie Hebdo reprinted the controversial cartoons, causing an uproar among the country’s growing Muslim population. Months later, the Great Mosque of Paris, the World Muslim League and the Union of Islamic Organizations of France sued Charlie Hebdo’s then-editor Philippe Val for defamation and incitement of hatred.
The docu chronicles that epic and symbolic legal battle through interviews with lawyers, witnesses, journalists, as well as footage of editorial conferences, demonstrations of support and reactions of the prosecutors and Muslim leaders around the world.
“Though Being Loved by Jerks” also boasts candid interviews and behind-the-scenes with acclaimed Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, notably Cabu, Charb, Tignous and Wolinski, who were among the 12 victims of the attacks perpetrated in Paris on Jan. 7.
“Having first seen the film at the Cannes Film Festival a few years ago, I was intrigued but not alarmed by what did then seem a regional religious freedom of speech controversy. How powerfully and sadly perspectives can change! In predating the tragic events at Charlie Hebdo, this now becomes a film of prophetic significance,” said Richard Lorber, CEO of Kino Lorber.
Added Lobber, “Most importantly, it illuminates the debate by unpacking its issues before murderous passions were unleashed. Kino Lorber honors the memory of this tragedy by offering this rare film’s insights to American audiences in the hope of elevating the discussion.”
Isabelle Giordano, head of Unifrance Films, emphasized the relevancy of the film. “(‘Though Being Loved by Jerks’) shows what it takes to fight for the freedom of expression. This is a principle to which France has always been committed, and this is now truer than ever,” argued Giordano, who is a former high-profile journalist.
The screening will be held at IFC Center on March 9 at 9:15 p.m.