Synopsis by Mark Deming
Charlie Hebdo is a satirical news magazine published weekly in France; the magazine has a richly earned reputation for confronting authority in all forms, but in 2006 they generated controversy on a whole new level when they reprinted a dozen editorial cartoons, originally created for a Danish paper, which offered visual interpretations of the Prophet Muhammad. The Islamic faith forbids graven images, and many Muslims regard drawing or painting the prophet as blasphemy; after the cartoons inspired angry protests and death threats by Islamic extremists, the editors of Charlie Hebdo were hit with a lawsuit filed jointly by the Great Mosque of Paris, the Union of Islamic Organizations of France and the World Muslim League, who charged the magazine with defamation, claiming they published "public insults against a group of people because they belong to a religion". To the surprise of no one, publisher Philippe Val vigorously fought the charges, championing the rights of a free press, warning of the precedent set by banning the magazine, and claiming that since Charlie Hebdo criticized nearly all organized religions, Islam wasn't being singled out. Filmmaker Daniel Leconte followed the Charlie Hebdo trial, and C'est Dur D'etre Aime par des Cons (aka It's Hard Being Loved By Jerks) is a documentary which examines the legal skirmish in France over the Dutch cartoons and how both sides presented their case in court. It's Hard Being Loved By Jerks was screened as a Special Presentation at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival.