In November 2017, Luther and the Protestant Revolution premiered in Poland. The central European nation has a large Catholic majority and has maintained its strong Catholic identity — even after several decades of Soviet rule. The filmmakers chose the premiere date to roughly coincide with the 500th anniversary of Protestantism's founding.
Polish filmmaker Grzegorz Braun was the director of the documentary film, called Luter i Rewolucja Protestancka in Polish.
One year later, the English-speaking world can access the film online for just $5. Church Militant reached out to Braun on Monday and asked about the film's reception in Poland.
He stated, "The viewers in Poland appreciated it from the start, although the mainstream media (including major Catholic press) totally ignored it."
Church Militant asked about the new release of an English-language version of the film. Braun replied, "It is an international [subject] matter, so we did our best to produce and distribute the film internationally. Which we succeeded [at] — thanks to Michael Voris, John Rao, Roberto de Mattei, Alma von Stockhausen and other brilliant scholars who kindly took part in our production."
The director said, "The film is probably the first documentary ever giving a comprehensive 'revisionist' outline of Martin Luther's miserable life and terrible deeds."
In a trailer for the English-language version of the film, a Polish priest argues, "Firstly, the Protestant community has remained unaware of the underlying causes of the 'Reformation.'"
The priest continues, "Secondly, the true face of Martin Luther has similarly been obscured."
During the trailer, one woman relates how her grandmother, an Evangelical Protestant, wanted to become Catholic after she studied Martin Luther because she found his ideas to be "absolute madness."
At another point in the English trailer, Michael Voris is on camera discussing Martin Luther's legacy. Voris remarks, "I never refer to the Protestant 'reformation' as a reforming — as a reformation. It was a revolution."
To make the movie, filmmakers traveled to eight countries throughout Europe. They conducted on-camera interviews with a variety of experts and commentators and captured footage at historical sites associated with the early days of Protestantism.
The film includes an original music score, as well as animated sequences done in a style based on the art of Luther's day.
In communication with Church Militant last year, Braun stated, "The viewers will be able to learn how far the popular, politically correct Luther is from the real historical one."
Braun said he learned during his research for the film that some of Germany's most brutal political leaders trumpeted Luther in their propaganda. The German Empire's anti-Catholic Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, East German Communist ruler Erich Honecker and even Nazi leader Adolf Hilter cited Luther as an influence. Braun was stunned to realize that the "majority of the memorials, monuments, museums and academic narrations about Luther and his revolution were produced for propaganda purposes by those brutal regimes."
The trailer for the English-language version of the film notes that people have often recast Luther as a model of ideas and ideologies that they want to promote — such as certain notions of liberty or some strains of feminism. Making a similar point, the trailer includes b-roll of a store shelf where Luther's name and image are used as marketing for a cornucopia of products, including mustard, coffee beans and mixed nuts.
In March this year, the Swedish diocese of Stockholm spoke out against Braun's film after several showings in Sweden. A press release from the diocese accused the film of being divisive and "hateful" and noted that some viewers felt the film "does not portray Luther and the emergence of the Reformation in a fair way."
Braun told Church Militant how he would respond to the statement.
"This is a serious and grave accusation, and that's why I have my suspicions," the director stated. "I don't know these people, and I don't know the author of this irresponsible and idiotic note."
The Stockholm diocese claimed the film could damage "ecumenism" between Catholics and Protestants. Braun replied that "ecumenism is probably the most important — and maybe even the only — thing that they think the Catholic faith is about."