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October 22, 2005

Reclaiming those Penguins

Luc Jacquet, director of the lovely surprise hit, March of the Penguins earlier this year, is none to happy to have his movie shanghaied by the American right-wing religious folk as a parable about monogamy and creationism, according to the Sunday London Times.

The article reviews two of the reports from the right-wing on the film:

Michael Medved, a conservative film critic and radio host, concluded that the story of the emperor penguins’ journey “most passionately affirms traditional norms like monogamy, sacrifice and child rearing”.

Another commentator, Andrew Coffin, wrote in the Christian publication World magazine that the complexity of the penguins’ lives was evidence of “intelligent design”, a theory developed for those who believe that life is too complex to have come about through random selection.

Jacquet suggests that the commentators have deliberately misread his film. 

“If you want an example of monogamy, penguins are not a good choice,” Luc Jacquet told The Times. “The divorce rate in emperor penguins is 80 to 90 per cent each year,” he said. “After they see the chick is OK, most of them divorce. They change every year.”

Mr Jacquet, who has never made a film for the cinema before, is concerned that his documentary has been hijacked. “It does annoy me to a certain degree,” he said. “For me there is no doubt about evolution. I am a scientist. The intelligent design theory is a step back to the thinking of 300 years ago. My film is not supposed to be interpreted in this way. Some scientists I know find the film interesting because it can be a good argument against intelligent design. People should not jump on these bandwagons.”

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 22, 2005 at 10:07 AM in Media | Permalink

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