Sam Taylor-Johnson Premieres Fifty Shades of Grey Amid Anti-Porn Protests

Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan, the stars of Fifty Shades of Grey. Photo: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

The hotly anticipated film adaptation of the erotic bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey, directed by British artist Sam Taylor-Johnson, will premiere this evening at the Berlin Film Festival, ahead of this weekend’s general release.

The secrecy surrounding the movie has been unprecedented. “Talking about this film when no one can see it is frustrating,” Taylor-Johnson told the Guardian. “It’s like being in a void, you lose perspective.”

Still, several anti-domestic violence campaigners, joined by anti-pornography and religious groups, have been protesting against the film in the last few weeks. Natalie Collins—from the group Fifty Shades Is Domestic Abuse, which plans to target the London premiere—told the Mirror that she was “deeply concerned about the amount of domestic violence that was being romanticized and celebrated” in the book trilogy.

In the US, the American Family Association isn’t happy either. The president of the conservative Christian group, Tim Wildmon, called the film “evil,” suggesting it “will have a corrosive effect on cultural views of what normative sexuality ought to be.”

Meanwhile, the Facebook page of the #50DollarsNot50Shades campaign, which encourages would-be viewers to donate the ticket fee to domestic violence shelters, has amassed over 9,000 likes in less than two weeks.

This is only the second film by Taylor-Johnson, who branched out from visual arts to feature films in 2009 with her John Lennon biopic Nowhere Boy. Her visual art career is flawless and celebrated—she is represented by White Cube and was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1998—and so was her directorial debut.

Fifty Shades of Grey, however, was always going to ruffle feathers, but Taylor-Johnson doesn’t seem too anxious about it. “To be feminist doesn’t mean you can’t be submissive, she told the Guardian. “It doesn’t mean you always have to be on top.”


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