Friday, April 16, 2010

Rated R

How refreshing! At a time when the puritans of our society continue to judge, wag their fingers and cry cry cry about how much movies are ruining our values - the latest case being the parent groups who think the Government should be actively patrolling the movie ratings of stuff like Kick-Ass so as to not inflict that movie's morally questionable attitude on audience members who legally aren't even allowed to see it without parental guidance - that sometimes a win for common sense in the same area can come as a complete and utter welcome surprise.

Pier Paolo Pasolini's controversial Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom has had a checkered history with Australian censors to say the least. Fantastic resource site Refused Classification has a thorough breakdown of the multiple times it has been banned, rated, re-banned, re-rated and banned again. Hopefully this is the last time we hear of the controversy now that it has been unbanned and given an R18+ rating.

Explains Refused Classification:

The Director of the Classification Board, Donald McDonald has stated that the R18+ version was rated because of:

.... the inclusion of 176 minutes of additional material which provided a context to the feature film, mitigating its impact.

Similar reasoning was used to allow I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE to be rated in 2004. It was thought that the extra commentary material on the Force Entertainment DVD was enough to allow an R18+ rating.

It's interesting that DVD bonus material is now being used to justify the film's rating. It doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things as to why they chose to do it, but they have and that's good news. A cinema release, which sometimes happen when famously banned films get taken off the naughty list, seems all but out of the question since the only reason Salo has been unbanned is due to this DVD bonus material and, thus, the film cannot be legally exhibited in a cinema without bonus material attached.

I am sure someone will figure out a way to get around it. Advertise it as including the bonus material and then just have everyone leave after the movie is over for instance. Nevertheless, Pasolini's film will finally be available on DVD by SHOCK at some point and I can now go about not seeing the film because I choose to and not because I am being legally denied the right to see it by the wowsers at the Office of Film and Literature Classification.


Paul Martin said...

Censorship of a film like Salo is just misguided paternalism. Fuck censorship - I bought the Criterion DVD a year ago.

Dame James said...

I don't mean to be pushy like I was with Away We Go, but I think you should see Salo at some point. It's incredibly fucked up and disgusting, but it is for a good reason (unlike pure torture porn such as Saw or Hostel). You will never, ever see anything like it.

seanisbored said...

I hate that we live in socities that can ban works of art 'for our own benefit'.

At my uni in Ireland we studied Von Trier's The Idiots. There was a few copies in the library and we were showed clips in class.

The Idiots is banned in Ireland... I loved that class.

Simon said...

MPAA is so far up their own ass, they can puppet themselves.

Oh, that wasn't very funny, was it? Good piece anyway.

Paul Martin said...

In today's Age:
Salo film cleared, but review sought