The Cannes Film Festival has awarded the Palm d’Or to “4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days.” The film is described in this CNN article as “a harrowing portrait of an illegal abortion in communist-era Romania.”
I am including a link to a review of the movie, which encompasses all that I know about the content of this film. The entertainment industry loves abortion films. The strange thing is why they love it. I have seen the TV shows House and Everwood both take their shot at the issue, as well as movies like Cider House Rules and there always seems to be an element of heroism involved in being able to perform abortions. It is an ugly job, but someone has to be able to step up and perform this grim task. The language describing the choice of abortion for women seems so confusing to me. It is so hard to make this decision. Gut wrenching, soul searching, and painful. In the movie and entertainment industry getting an abortion seems like a matter of courage and even the ultimate source of conflict in this newest offering. Recently my wife and I were watching a certain blockbuster film (unrelated to abortion) and she leaned over and asked me, “Who am I supposed to be rooting for?” This question is magnified for me with this film in question. Do I go to this movie and root for the young girls to fulfill their quest for an abortion? Is it just the same old story? Abortions are terrible, but they have to be done and you have no right to interject yourself into this decision. In fact, see what happens when you make it hard for women to get abortions? Is this the message I am supposed to receive here? Is this the "harrowing" award winning and emotionally powerful point?
I will in all likelihood never see this film. Time is too precious to watch a film where the ultimate payoff is that “She finally got her abortion.” I am getting more and more curious about the fascination with the “heroic” elements of abortion, though. Why so much emotion from those who see this as the destruction of soulless valueless tissue? Would Jane Fonda ever award the Palm d’Or to a film about the heroic journey of a Romanian college student to have her tooth illegally extracted? If not, then why is this different for them? If they think that the unborn are human beings and so the decision is very hard, how can they possibly think that killing innocent human beings is heroic? Curious.
I would worry less if I thought that movies and entertainment were not incredibly more effective at conveying information, false or not, to people in our culture than reasoned argument. Look at the hysteria over Farenheit 9-11, The DaVinci Code, and An Inconvenient Truth. No amount of after the fact debunking of bad science and history ever fully stems the tide of the initial emotional responses. Pro-lifers need to be more keenly aware of how cleverly abortion is framed through these programs. The message is strong. It is hard, difficult, terrible, and a personal choice. I am certain our arguments are better than theirs. I am terribly afraid that their movies and TV shows are better than ours. I know they are more widely seen and awarded. It is hard to measure how much this effects the whole terrain of the debate, but it must not be dismissed as irrelevent.