Guardian UK is reporting that a film depicting Polish clerics as corrupt, drunken fornicators and paedophiles is breaking box office records, but has also stirred outrage and encouraged hundreds of people to come forward with allegations of recent and historical abuse.
The film is titled “Kler” (The Clergy) and was directed Wojciech Smarzowski.
It includes testimonies of survivors of abuse and also features an alcoholic priest who encourages his lover to have an abortion, a priest accused of abusing a young boy, a senior cleric engaged in corruption and blackmail, and a grotesque, foul-mouthed archbishop cutting deals with politicians and mobsters, all operating with impunity against the backdrop of a passive and credulous society portrayed as complicit in the crimes being committed.
“Kler” broke records at Polish box officer records on its opening weekend , and has been seen by almost 3 million people since its release at the end of September.
Guardian adds that the film release comes mere weeks after a court in Poznan, north-west of the country, ruled that the order bore responsibility for the fate of a girl, then 13, who was abducted and repeatedly raped over 10 months by one of its priests. The court ordered that the victim is paid hundreds of thousands of pounds in damages.
The priest was arrested in 2008 and served four years in prison, but was removed from the order only last year.
Now, “Kler” has sparked new conversations and some members of the Polish clergy and its supporters have reacted negatively to the film, dismissing it as “vulgar clergyphobia”.