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Hell's Angel (1994)

TV Movie  -   -  Documentary  -  8 November 1994 (UK)
7.8
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Christopher Hitchens investigates whether Mother Teresa of Calcutta deserves her saintly image. He probes her campaigns against contraception and foeticide and her questionable relationships with wealthy religious and political leaders.

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Jean-Bertrand Aristide ...
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Mihir Bose ...
Himself
Mary Loudon ...
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Ken McMillan ...
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Mother Teresa ...
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Christopher Hitchens investigates whether Mother Teresa of Calcutta deserves her saintly image. He probes her campaigns against contraception and foeticide and her questionable relationships with wealthy religious and political leaders.

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8 November 1994 (UK)  »

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Hell's Angel: Mother Teresa of Calcutta  »

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Is It Possible Hitchins Didn't Go Far Enough ?
13 March 2008 | by (Isle Of Bute , Scotland) – See all my reviews

If you've never heard of Christopher Hitchens let me explain he's the only person in the world who makes Professor Richard Dawkins look like a happy clappy vicar . He's a radical atheist who is openly hostile of religion . Dawkins uses scientific arguments to illustrate his belief that there is no god . Hitchens on the other hand is not a scientist but his cynicism towards religion makes him far more accessible to a mass audience , and over the years this expose by Hitchens on Mother Teresa has taken on legendary status . Such a pity that it's difficult to track down , but all you have to do is type in to any search engine " Hitchins Hells Angel " and you might be presently surprised how easy it is to find

Hitchens does not for a moment pretend this is going to be objective - It's a hatchet job on someone who is somewhat regarded even amongst secularists as someone who has brought hope and joy to the destitute and needy in the slums of Calcutta . Early on we're shown a clip from a 1969 documentary by ( in )famous Christian Malcolm Muggeridge who started the Teresa myth by proclaiming that a miracle had happened , but this so called miracle involving light is easily explained by the cameraman going in to details as to how it's all down to the film in the camera . Strange to say that despite all the publicity and donations she has received her hospice has not changed one bit 25 years later . People still lie on stretcher beds with their heads shaved and the image to quote one former nurse who worked there " resembles Belsen ...where the dying and stricken are given nothing stronger than aspirin as a painkiller ... and where dirty needles are washed in cold water to be used again "

Abortion and Teresa's attitude to it is next in Hitchens sights . We're shown footage of her stating that " The greatest destroyer of world peace today is the cry of the unborn child being murdered in her mother's womb " then footage of a rally in Ireland where she states her dogma against abortion and birth control . It's at this point journalist Mihir Bose points out that she's a crusader for reactionary hardline Catholic dogma and why so many leaders of western democracies admire her so much

But perhaps it's not so much western leaders she should be remembered for meeting according to Hitchens " She may not comfort the afflicted but has never been known to afflict the comfortable " . she shakes hands with Ronald Reagan , a sponsor of right wing death squads in Central America , Haitian despot Papa Doc Duvalier and laying a wreath on the tomb of Stalinist dictator of Albania Enva Hoxa . Hitchens poses the question that why is she renowned as being " Mother Teresa Of Calcutta " when in fact she seemed to spend most of her life preferring to shake hands with the ( not ) great and ( far from ) good thousands of miles away from Calcutta

If I have any problem with HELLS ANGEL it's that might have pulled his punches just a little bit . It's a well known fact that whenever Mother Teresa fell ill she would go to America to be treated by the world's leading and most expensive doctors . Apparently what was good enough for dying penniless beggars in the Indian subcontinent wasn't good enough for her , and I don't think Hitchens hammered this point home enough in this documentary though to be fair Hitchens has certainly made up for it in articles over the years . But still it's a very well argued documentary which should be seen by anyone who's sitting on the fence where religion and its hypocrisy is concerned


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