“Bastille Day”

The Idris Elba thriller “Bastille Day” has been pulled from movie theaters in France in response to the recent terrorist attack in Nice, which took place on Bastille Day, July 14.

The film, in which Elba co-stars with Richard Madden, opened in France on July 13. Centering on a young con artist and former CIA agent who join forces to stop a terrorist attack in Paris, “Bastille Day’s” tagline reads: “This year, the fireworks are them!” It’s both ironic and unfortunate since the attack in Nice took place right after a fireworks display.

The French distributor of the film, StudioCanal, made the decision to pull the film, according to a studio spokesman, “out of respect for the victims of the Nice attack and their families.” Elba himself agreed with the decision saying, “It’s a good thing that they pulled it from the theaters because it could come across as insensitive… I’m heartbroken about that situation, though. Not just because I was in a film called ‘Bastille Day’ at all, but more about the shed of innocent lives.”

“Bastille Day” is not the only film to be pulled from French movie theaters after a terror attack. “Made in France,” a feature film about a journalist who infiltrates a terrorist cell plotting an assault on Paris, and which was set to open last fall, was also pulled after the Nov. 13 attacks across Paris.

In addition, there’s speculation that another thriller, titled “Nocturama,” about a group of young people who come together to plan a series of attacks across the city, which was due out on Aug. 31, will also be pulled due to the Nice attacks.

This raises a question of whether these moves are going too far? Are these films being pulled due to sensitivity of recent events, or is it censorship? Is it possible this this could lead to a situation where filmmakers and distributors are afraid to take chances, fearing that their films could be suddenly pulled from theaters because of a tragic incident that they have no control over?

One can understand distributor concerns, but one could also argue that the public has a right see what they want to see. They’re not babies. One wonders if a film like Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove” would be allowed to open today, if its release coincided with some similar event that caused mass causalities.

What says you?