Friday May 5, 2006

Experts Available to Discuss "The Da Vinci Code"

The Associated Press, Voice of America and the Chicago Tribune, among others, have sought Jim Farrelly's comments about various movies.

James Farrelly, director of film studies; (937) 229-3435 or james.farrelly@notes.udayton.edu: "Anyone who believes that John is Mary in disguise supping at the table in Da Vinci's 'The Last Supper' is in dire need of a reality check. But religious kooks on both sides will have a field day with Ron Howard's attempt to decode (or redress) Brown's incredible plot. What attracted the readers will no doubt attract moviegoers as well, but the risk of being taken in by the film is greater. Brown's contention that his story is true surely began as part of a 'conspiracy theory' of his own to lure potential buyers. To say he duped his audience with this bogus mystery is an understatement. For Ron Howard, who as a director has already been accused of altering the truth to enhance his film 'A Beautiful Mind,' the challenge this time is to make Brown's novel credible. If he succeeds, then conspiracy theories will run rampant again, and somehow the truth will get 'lost' in the shuffle as the codebreakers run to discover that fiction is not only stranger than truth, but a hell of a lot more mysterious to boot." The Associated Press, Philadelphia Inquirer, Sacramento Bee, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Dallas Morning News, Voice of America and the Chicago Tribune, among others, have sought Farrelly's comments about various movies.

The Rev. James L. Heft, S.M., chancellor and professor of faith and culture; (937) 229-2105 or james.heft@notes.udayton.edu: "For all those with a good historical grasp of the Catholic church, the novel, and I presume the movie, will be at best entertaining, an enjoyable diversion of sorts. For those without such an informed understanding of their faith, this type of entertainment distorts Christian history and muddies Christian teaching. There is no evidence that Christ married anyone, and that church leaders or Constantine deliberately set out to deceive people about the origins of Christianity."

Anthony Smith, assistant professor of religious studies; (937) 229-4490 or anthony.smith@notes.udayton.edu: Smith teaches a class on religion and film. He wrote a chapter titled "Pulp Catholicism: Catholics in American Popular Film" for the The Columbia History of Catholics in America and specializes in 20th century American Catholicism and American cultural studies. He has published articles on film director John Ford.

Sister Angela Ann Zukowski, MHSH, director of the Institute for Pastoral Initiatives; (937) 229-3126 or angela.zukowski@notes.udayton.edu: Zukowski is the former world president of the International Catholic Association for Radio and Television. She has written the book The Gospel in Cyberspace and an article titled "New Frontiers: Media and Ministry." She is an international consultant for pastoral communications planning and has pioneered new methodologies for catechesis and adult faith formation. New York Newsday, Associated Press and United Press International, among other outlets, have quoted her in stories about religion and media.

To arrange an interview, contact Shawn Robinson at (937) 229-3391, Linda Robertson at (937) 229-3257 or you are welcome to call the expert directly.