01-06-2006 - Traces, n.6

The Da Vinci Code

A fiction built on lies

edited by Paola Bergamini

Antonio Monda is an associate professor at New York University’s Kanbar Institute of Film and Television. An author and film critic, he has recently published articles and given interviews on the “Da Vinci phenomenon.” We asked him a few questions.

Someone has defined the novel “a great lie full of nonsense,” but in America it has been enormously successful, to the point that people talk about a “Da Vinci phenomenon.” What do you think this is due to?
A mix of different factors. Shrewdness in its construction, a mix of commonplaces and titillating themes. The book offers exactly what an uncultivated reader is looking for, when he wants to hear everything possibly bad about the Church, and seeks in the themes expressed an indirect green light for a do-it-yourself, new-age religiosity.
Many Catholics and others who have tried to denounce the falsities of the events narrated, and thus the whole cultural operation that has been built, have been answered with the excuse that it’s just fiction. What do you think of this judgment?
The author writes in his preface that he built the book on painstaking research. Another falsity. I am floored to learn that people don’t laugh when they read that the Church humiliated and minimized the figure of Mary Magdalene. It is only one example out of many.

How do you explain the success of this anti-Christian literary genre, especially in the West, which owes so much to Christianity?
I think I answered substantially in the first question. It is a reaction to the extraordinary construction of Christianity.