The documentary film Cleanflix tells the story of the dramatic rise and fall of businesses (based primarily in Utah) that rented and sold versions of Hollywood movies in which they had edited out bad language, nudity, sex scenes, gore, graphic violence, and anything else that they considered not a match for community standards. In telling the story from its origins to the court case that declared the practices as in violation of copyright agreements to the continuing saga of stores that refused to shut down even after the businesses were declared illegal, the film highlights deeply embedded attitudes in Mormon culture. What are the peculiar aspects of Mormonism that helped give rise to an industry that seemed fully intent on exploiting moral gray areas: letter versus spirit of gospel teachings, trying to eliminate guilt for wanting to be “part of” the world rather than fully “apart from” it, judging ones views of the value of certain art forms and messages as superior to that of the persons who created the art in the first place?
In this episode, Cleanflix filmmakers Joshua Ligairi and Andrew James, join Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon and panelists Richard Dutcher and Brent Beal for a lively discussion of these and many other aspects of this story. Could this industry have arisen and grown to be as huge as it became anywhere other than inUtah? Why do so many Latter-day Saints seem incapable of contextualizing artistic choices, failing to see that sometimes a swear word does not simply reveal a lack of linguistic imagination or that nudity is not always presented in order to excite libido? What doctrinal or cultural messages make it hard for many Mormons to want to really explore the human condition–including its dark and difficult aspects–in ways that film is ideally suited to?
We look forward to you listening and then sharing below your ideas on these and the many other areas explored in this fascinating film and discussion.
Cleanflix is now available on DVD! http://www.cleanflixthemovie.com/
It is also available through iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, and Video On Demand.
Richard Dutcher’s film Falling will be playing in Salt Lake City at the Broadway Center Theatre beginning 27 April.
Please attend the premiere that evening, or any other showing especially that weekend. Box office performance in the opening days determines its chances to stay in the theaters extra weeks, plus its ability to attract theaters to play in around the country.