Disney’s The BFG came out on Friday and I have mixed feelings even after viewing it on the big screen over the July 4th holiday.
When the movie premiered at Cannes recently, a journalist asked director Steven Spielberg about his thoughts on author Roald Dahl’s anti-Semitic views during a press conference following a screening of the film. The question starts in the 13-14 minute mark.
On answering the question:
“I didn’t. I wasn’t aware of any of Roald Dahl’s personal stories. I was focused on the story he wrote. I had no idea of anything that was purportedly was assigned to him, that he might have said.
“So, no. This is a story about embracing our differences. The values in the book and in the film, those are the values I wanted to impart in the telling of this story.”
That being said, Spielberg did an interview with The New York Times and said he didn’t research the author and said it is “no excuse.” Spielberg goes on to say that he would not know what he would have done had he known about the comments made by the writer. That’s reasonable.
My feelings on anti-Semitic actors are very well known. I will not see any movie starring Mel Gibson, or directed by him for that matter. At the same time, I have the greatest of respect for Steven Spielberg but Roald Dahl’s anti-Semitic views are troubling. Dahl was a self-admitted anti-Semite. How somebody like Spielberg completely missed that is beyond me.
Personally, I can’t watch any of the movies based on a Dahl book in the same light again and since it was only recently that Dahl’s views resurfaced, I won’t see any future films based on his work.
Directed by Spielberg from a screenplay by the late Melissa Mathison, The BFG stars Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill, Penelope Wilton, Jemaine Clement, Rebecca Hall, Rafe Spall, and Bill Hader.