The Book That ‘Going Clear,’ The Scientology Documentary, Is Based On — And …
Documentarian rejects Scientology objection.
Using controversy to increase ratings is an age-old ploy. Alex Gibney, writer and director of Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, has heard plenty of objections to the film, which alleges abuse and other transgressions, from those connected with the Church of Scientology. He has “gotten a lot of cards and letters from members, from attorneys representing the church, from publicists, from lawyers of other individuals, like Tom Cruise,” who is Scientology’s most famous member, documentarian Gibney tells USA TODAY in advance of the film’s TV premiere Sunday (HBO, 8 p.m.
Ron Hubbard, are revealed through profiles and interviews with former members including the Oscar-winning screenwriter Paul Haggis. “Drawing from a trove of archival material, including filmed interviews with Mr. It has stamped its name, hugely, on some of the city’s most visible classic buildings, including the former Christie Hotel, the former Cedars of Lebanon Hospital, the former Chateau Elysee and the former Hollywood Guaranty Building.
Dallas time HBO will air Academy Award-winning director Alex Gibney’s Going Clear, his Scientology documentary based on the book by Woodrow Wilson High School Hall of Famer Lawrence Wright, who’s chief among the talking heads talking the longest and loudest in the film. There was a time you’d see members of the church out on Hollywood Boulevard, offering free personality tests to passersby; television ads were frequent. Well two new specials, airing this Sunday in the same time slot (8pm ET), have found themselves square in the middle of controversy – with different results.
Gibney paints a profile of a church that grew by leaps and bounds through profound faith and drag-out fights,” Manohla Dargis wrote in The New York Times. “Mr. The church castigates Gibney and his film on the website of its Freedommagazine, referring to the former as HBO’s “Doctor of Propaganda” and the latter as a one-sided work that glorifies the “stale, discredited allegations” of former members it calls “admitted perjurers, admitted liars and professional anti-Scientologists.” A separate letter to HBO refers to the film’s “egregious falsehoods and inaccuracies.” Scientology spokeswoman Karin Pouw says the church first heard from Gibney last October, adding that he had been working on the film for two years before he requested an interview with church leader David Miscavige.
The church asked for an opportunity to address allegations and also to know who was making them in order to provide the right people to respond, but Gibney refused the request, she says. A second segment looks at a promising effort by scientists at Duke University to kill cancer cells using a re-engineered polio virus. 7:30 P.M. (Nickelodeon) HARVEY BEAKS In this series premiere, a polite bird named Harvey is pulled into adventures by his rule-breaking friends Fee and Foo. “The series, created by C.
At Christmastime, Pouw says that Gibney’s attorney said he would accept information from people with first-hand knowledge but that follow-up letters were ignored. Chris Vognar and I reviewed Going Clear for this week’s “Reel Genius” video chitchat, which you’ll find below. (And here, just because, is the Scientologists’ review.) By way of prep, I was curious: How deep are Scientology’s roots in Dallas? HBO claimed that it had 160 lawyers vet the movie to make sure it couldn’t be sued over allegations that include torturing church members who have fallen out of favor, making members do menial labor for little to no money and harassing high-ranking members after they leave.
Scientology then brought 25 people to New York in January to answer the film’s allegations, including “the children, former spouses, superiors and colleagues who worked for years alongside his sources. The church characterizes the documentary as “one-sided, bigoted propaganda built on falsehoods.” Apart from some blurry dramatic re-creation and a few fanciful images to illustrate the church’s less advertised beliefs — its science fiction-style creation myth involving a galactic tyrant, a 75-million-year-old-world resembling 1950s America, overpopulation, tax audits, volcanoes, hydrogen bombs and the attachment of disembodied aliens to w human newborns — Gibney’s presentation is, given his hot topic, sensibly low-key.
Pontius Pilate (Stephen Moyer) and King Herod (Kelsey Grammer) begin to see Jesus as a rebel and political enemy. 9 P.M. (Fox) THE LAST MAN ON EARTH Todd (Mel Rodriguez) and Melissa (January Jones) continue their relationship, to the confusion of Phil (Will Forte). There is order and selection, of course — to say that this is storytelling is not to impugn its parts — but much of what he has to show you is remarkable in or out of this context. According to The Dallas Morning News‘ archives, the first references to Scientology appeared in this newspaper on April 14, 1956: “New Church to Form Organization in Dallas.” The timing’s certainly right. Carol (Kristen Schaal) tries to persuade Phil that she should move in with him. 9 P.M. (AMC) THE WALKING DEAD In this season finale, Daryl (Norman Reedus) encounters problems. NatGeo, which is co-owned by Fox and National Geographic, also dramatized those books and they are the channel’s highest-rated telecasts ever, both drawing in about 3.4 million viewers.
He was never interested in being fair and he didn’t want to hear anything that would undercut his bigoted theories.” Pouw says Gibney, for publicity purposes, was only interested in speaking to Miscavige, two top movie stars (Cruise and John Travolta are among the most famous Scientologists) and another parishioner. The eerie comfort of life in the Alexandria Safe Zone has an alienating effect on Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his group. 9:30 P.M. (ABC Family) HOME ALONE 2: LOST IN NEW YORK (1992) Kevin (Macaulay Culkin, left) is once again separated from his vacationing family in the holiday season when he boards the wrong flight.
These specials usually put O’Reilly’s patented conservative slant on retellings of history, something that wouldn’t really sit well with Christians. It’s also the year Scientology was granted tax-exempt status and first considered a religion by the Internal Revenue Service. (Going Clear, the book and movie, are determined to get that status tossed.) At the time members met at the downtown Dallas YMCA. When Marv (Daniel Stern) and Harry (Joe Pesci) see him on the street, they vow revenge for the pains Kevin inflicted upon them in the Chicago suburbs in the original “Home Alone,” and Kevin must once against devise an elaborate booby-trapped environment so he can evade them.
At its conclusion, Hubbard says here, “an individual has erased his reactive mind, his unconscious mind is gone and he is totally alert and totally capable.” Scientology, which Hubbard created after Dianetics had run its course, added a many-step program that would bring a seeker to the state called “clear” — and, in the bargain, reveal to her or him the church’s intergalactic back story. And in short order, Scientology was deemed nothing more than the practice of “quacks,” per the Dallas Better Business Bureau; read the 1963 story below about Dianetics and other “menaces.” In 1969 — or, just four years after Lawrence Wright graduated from Woodrow — this paper even ran a highly critical series about Scientology.
Even now it feels remarkably of-the-moment, explaining the E-meters and auditors at the heart of Wright and Gibney’s tale about a “religion” that turns its true believers’ confessions into the stuff of blackmail. And it too was built upon accounts offered by former members — the so-called “squirrels.” Later, in the 1970s, it operated out of the Mission of the Southwest Personal Expansion Center at 4303 N. The movie was not without controversy among some conservative Christians for another reason: the man cast to play Jesus, Haaz Sleiman, was raised Muslim.
More troubling, and the bulk of his case, is the testimony of former Scientologists, some of them high-ranked, some of them claiming inside knowledge. Killing Jesus is a natural extension of the franchise, especially given that the History Channel’s miniseries The Bible pulled in a whopping 11.7 million viewers when it aired two years ago and touched off a spate of religious-tinged programming. Even though the church’s case was dismissed, “They regarded that in some ways as a victory, because I think it was the most expensive libel litigation suit for a media company in history and it has cast a pall over media organizations.
Stern bring great gusto to their characters’ stupidity, to the point where they are far funnier just walking and talking than they are being hurt.” THE STAIRCASE The SundanceNow Doc Club is showing this serialized true crime documentary about the trial of Michael Peterson, whose wife, Kathleen, was found dead on the stairs in their home in North Carolina. Defenders of the faith will say that they are lying now when they say they were lying then, but they seem quite credible and composed to me — amazed at the people they’d been, astonished by what they couldn’t see, ashamed at their actions or inaction. The series was directed by Jean-Xavier de Lestrade, who won an Oscar for best documentary for “Murder on a Sunday Morning,” also being shown here. (VOD) ALEC M.
I don’t get that.” On its website, the church discusses disconnection, or stopping communication with a person, as a last resort in dealing with people “antagonistic” to Scientology, but it says there is no policy requirement that members do so. Then it was off to Irving, where at-the-time Mayor Herb Gears welcomed David Miscavige and the Scientologists to “the heart of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex” with open arms, as you’ll see in a video that looks like an excerpt from Going Clear.
His dad Don Wright “created Beautiful Dallas, led efforts to dredge White Rock Lake and was deeply involved in efforts to beautify roadsides with wildflowers,” for instance, per Bill Marvel’s story about the author. Killing Jesus promises to let people in on the truth of the Christian savior’s demise, but only offers them up a staid recitation of what is taught in Sunday school. Killing Jesus may be successful because of the vast, underserved Christian community in the US, or because O’Reilly commands a legion of devoted fans. Controversy may be one of the oldest ways to drum up attention, but in an increasingly cluttered television landscape there is a good way to use it and a bad way to use it.
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