ROME — In the Vatican’s final broadside against “The Da Vinci Code” before its Cannes world preem, Catholic production company Rome Reports on Tuesday held a press screening of “The Da Vinci Code: A Masterful Deception,” a docu packed with anti-Dan Brown comments from powerful prelates and purported church and art history experts.
The 25-minute doc of negative views of the Brown-penned book as well as the Ron Howard pic will air on Italo pubcaster RAI and Polish pubcaster TV Polska, among other webs; it also will be sold on DVD for viewing in Cathholic parishes throughout the world.
Unlike other docs spawned by “Code,” the filmmakers behind this one had access to high-ranking Vatican officials, including Cardinal Francis Arinze (considered a candidate for pope last year), who calls for Catholics to take legal action against the pic.
“This work is intended to provide an occasion for dialogue and debate,” claimed Mario Biasetti, a U.S. journo who served as docu’s producer.
In the pic, a string of consistently negative statements is counterpointed by one Vatican official, Brooklyn-born Monsignor Roberto Sarno, a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Saints, who called the Dan Brown book a “great novel” and said it should not be construed as an attack against Christianity.
John Allen, author of a book on Opus Dei to be published by Random House later this year, told Variety, “This clearly represents a carefully timed Church response to ‘The Da Vinci Code’ movie, as opposed to a balanced journalistic response.”
Docu also includes copious blastings from academics and a psychiatrist opining that the film could have negative effects on people’s mental health.
Meanwhile, “Da Vinci Code” distrib Sony has plastered Rome with Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou posters and has managed to hang huge billboards just outside the capital’s Leonardo Da Vinci airport on scaffolding surrounding a gigantic Leonardo Da Vinci statue, which is undergoing restoration.