“I used to think my life was a tragedy, but now I realize a comedy”. *
The movie “Joker” has broken box office records worldwide, while the movie’s star Joaquin Phoenix is believed to have already clinched the Oscar race. Greece is no exception, with the film being a huge success.
Yet no one would expect that the release of “The Joker” would turn into a political event and a cause for the enactment of a law from… 1937 and the police barging into theaters to search for underage viewers!
Specifically, on Saturday, following allegations of minors being present in a screening, while the film has been flagged as inappropriate for underage viewers in Greece, police raided two cinemas after first ordering the show to stop and the lights to go on. In one case the minors and their parents were escorted to the police station, while in the second a report was simply made on the spot and the parents were notified.
Of course, as the owner of one of the cinemas complains, the viewers involved in the incident were teenagers aged 16-17, while in Greece at the age of 17 one has the right to vote; at the same time, in many European countries the film is deemed appropriate for ages 13 or 15.
This, of course, prompted immediate reactions, with the news becoming viral across social media. After all, this is the first time in the last 40 years that a pre-war law has been implemented in Greece. The invasion of the police and the arrest of “offenders” in the cinemas was a well-established method in dictatorships and post-war Greece.
According to the evidence so far, the complaint was made by officials of the ministry of culture who, according to the minister, “acted unilaterally without having received the relevant order from their superior”. At the same time, the ministry announced that an investigation would be carried out. Meanwhile, it condemned the police invasion while underlining that there is no mandate for the police authorities to intervene in cinemas. In addition, it became known that one complaint was made by a competing distribution company.
However, the statement of one of the officials who called the police appeared contradicting, since she allegedly testified that she acted upon an informal understanding between her and her boss and after the Prosecutor was informed of the complaints filed by citizens.
“The police, unfortunately, are charged with a number of auxiliaries, outside the scope of their mission”, Minister for Citizen Protection M. Chrysochoidis stated, speaking of an incident “on the verge of vanity”. He himself said he would go to see the movie with his 15-year-old son, thus “cornering” his colleague in the Ministry of Culture.
“The order the Gotham City officials weren’t able to bring was finally restored on Saturday night at AELLO cinema by Mr. Chrysochoidis”, Al. Tsipras joked on social media, accusing the government of going back to the ’60s. M. Chrysochoidis accused the former prime minister of cheap political tricks and fake sensitivity.
“Their problem is neither SYRIZA nor the Joker, but instead the circus of a government which includes many jokers and even more acrobats”, SYRIZA’s press office commented. /ibna