Reactions after the incident on Sunday evening at MNTR, where a group of protesters interrupted the screening of the movie “120 Beats per Minute”

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A group of protesters bearing banners with nationalist and Christian messages like “Hey Soros, leave our kids alone” and “Romania is not Sodom and Gomorrah” interrupted the screening of the French movie “120 Beats per Minute” with a gay theme, which was screened on Sunday evening at Noul Cinematograf al Regizorului Roman (The New Cinema of the Romanian Director – e.n.) belonging to the National Romanian Peasant Museum (MNTR). The protesters started to pray and sing religious songs and the national anthem, asking for explanations on the authorization for screening the movie. They said that they especially bought tickets to be able to protest and blamed George Soros and the foreign embassies who influence negatively the young generation. “Shame on you, shame on you!” shouted the protesters in the cinema, and they continued to sing religious songs. “This movie will destroy the lives of the Romanian youngsters, and if Soros’s money wouldn’t have existed, this movie wouldn’t have been screened in the cinema” was the explanation of the protesters.

They said that a movie with such a subject cannot be screened “in a center of the Romanian spirituality” like MNTR. Spectators, who were extremely upset, asked those who interrupted the screening to pay their tickets. People who barged into the cinema also sang the National Anthem and accused MNTR of propaganda in favor of the LGBT movement. “I came to see an artistic movie, a story” a spectator told them.

“I couldn’t imagine that such a thing could happen to me. A clique of extremist Christians interrupted the screening of the movie 120 BPM at the cinema of the Peasant Museum. The Grand prix of Cannes 2017 is sabotaged with a cheap happening/masquerade, with ladies with icons, with youngsters with glassy eyes. I listened to church songs and it still seems to me unreal that such a thing can happen today in Romania. I recommend to the clique of agitators to continue their journey at ‘Soldiers’ and ‘A Fantastic Woman’” director Tudor Giurgiu, who was present at the screening, wrote on Facebook.

 

MNTR management: We express our desire not to be transformed into the mined field of some confrontations which are rather related to ideology than to faith

 

“We cannot agree with the type of manifestation that happened on Sunday evening, for several reasons. First of all, we have always relied on the decency, conduct and intellectual training of our spectators, irrespective of their religion, gender, environment, etc. Secondly, the right to watch a movie cannot be violated by some spectators to the detriment of the others. Even worse, those who do not agree with the content of a movie do not have the legal right to verbally or otherwise assault other spectators, who also paid the ticket in their turn. If those involved wanted to legally protest, they could have done it in front of the institution, within the limits allowed by the law. One way to really debate on the film would have been a discussion at the end of the screening, where we could possibly find answers to questions like: where art ends and the propaganda begins, which the film is accused of. (…) Unfortunately, the protesters, like those of 5 years ago, have not seen in the MNTR a place of debate, but a tool of religious propaganda, rendering a real disservice both to the image of the museum as a public institution and the principle of tolerance that Christian religion proposes as a way of life. (…)

We express on this occasion the desire not to be transformed into the mined field of confrontations that are related rather to ideology than to faith. We apologize to Sunday evening spectators with the regret of causing such an unpleasant moment, and we assure them that this kind of incidents will not happen again. Reprogramming the screening will be announced later” the MNTR management stated in a press release released on Monday, signed by Liliana Passima, interim Manager.

 

The National Museum Network: We condemn the hysterical and exaggerated reactions that took place 

 

The National Museum Network of Romania sent a message on Monday, condemning “the hysterical and exaggerated reactions” that took place on Sunday evening at the National Romanian Peasant Museum (MNTR).

“Approximatively 4 years after the series of unfortunate events that took place at the National Romanian Peasant Museum on the occasion of the event ‘The LGBT History Month’ organized by the ACCEPT Association, the National Museum Network of Romania is sad and worried to find that this subject has relapsed in the public space, involving the same museum, the same types of contesting organizations and the same kind of movie which debates a subject to which we should be tolerant and to have a good understanding of the realities that surround us” are some of the assertions in the point of view sent by the National Museum Network to news.ro.

“Our museums are making great efforts to adapt to the great contemporary themes of the society for which we are seeking ‘replies’ and exhibition or pedagogical point of views, and tolerance, emigration, and mutual understanding are fundamental in order to demonstrate our role as contributors of the great social approach we are all part of” also reads the release of the Network.

“The conflict was caused by ‘a group of Christians’ who didn’t understand that the museum in which they were is treating the rural environment not only from the perspective of the past, but also in a close relation with the alterity of the Romanian village of our days, with the new typology of the Romanian peasant, who was unfortunately involved in this scandal. If this accusatory group would have visited the museum, they would have understood that the world has changed, the Romanian village has changed, but unfortunately, the only ones who haven’t changed are its representatives” is the message sent by the National Museum Network of Romania.

 

Patriarchate’s reaction: An action with a moral ground, but which didn’t observed the law

 

“I don’t know the content of this movie. Those persons have nothing to do with the institution of the Romanian Patriarchate. However, the right to public opinion is a natural one, but the way in which this right is exercised will take into account the context and the rules of civilization that must be respected in a public institution. Christians of any denomination and members of other religious denominations recognized by the state have the fundamental right to publicly express their disagreement towards promoting certain messages, including the subversive ones, that harm the personal and public moral sensitivity. However, an elegant form of protest will always comply with the law and order. The stylistics of such protests indicate in its turn the level of understanding and culture of those who decide to publicly express. I believe that a rudimentary or aggressive style of protest, regardless of how morally grounded it is, will never be beneficial for the good cause of the protest” the Spokesman of the Patriarchate Vasile Banescu stated for “Adevarul”.