Banned gay movies in Australia & Singapore
And you thought that Australia is a democracy, where adults are allowed to make their own choices regarding the movies (or books?) they want to enjoy without government interference?
Well, think again…
Via the Melbourne Queer Film Festival website:
“The films they didn't want you to see!
“The Melbourne Queer Film Festival special presentation of The Erotic Films of Peter de Rome  has been denied exemption from classification by the Office of Film & Literature Classification and is unable to be screened at this year's Festival. Instead the session will be replaced with the Australian premiere screening of Whirlwind, directed by Richard Le May.”
“Festival Director, Lisa Daniel says, 'The MQFF is terribly disappointed not to be able to show Melbourne audiences the Peter De Rome shorts compilation. It provided a fascinating contrast with contemporary gay erotic cinema, and De Rome's art-house influence was obvious and inspiring. It's a shame a film festival which only screens such sessions to adults must submit to the censorship of Government.'”
Refused Classification is an excellent source of news about the many motion pictures and DVDs censored in Australia. Clearly, the folks at Australia's Office of Film & Literature Classification are in dire need of meat for their long weekends.
The Melbourne Queer Film Festival ends on Monday, March 17.
April 8 update: Screendaily reports that four documentaries scheduled for the 21st Singapore International Film Festival (SIFF), which kicked off on April 4, have been banned by local censors.
According to the report, two of the documentaries – Arab-American director Bassam Haddad's Arabs and Terrorism, about opposing views on political terror, and Mano Khalil's David the Tolhildan, which follows the son of a former Swiss Federal Supreme Court president who joined the Kurdish armed independence movement PKK – “were 'disallowed' on account of their sympathetic portrayal of allegedly terrorist organizations.”
“Films which portray terrorist organizations in a positive light by lending support and voice to justify their cause through violence are disallowed under the film classification guidelines,” said Amy Chua, chairman of Singapore's Board of Film Censors.
The other two banned documentaries were Ryuichi Hiroki's Bakushi, a portrayal of kinbaku, described as “the Japanese practice of tying up women in elaborate knots before proceeding to S&M stage shows,” and Parvez Sharma's A Jihad for Love (above), in which a gay Muslim filmmaker talks to openly gay and lesbian Muslims in 12 countries.
SIFF festival director Philip Cheah told Screendaily that “in the early days of silent film, D.W. Griffith made the epic Intolerance. Now that we have color and sound, we unfortunately still have intolerance on a more grand epic scale.”
The Tuesday screening of Hiner Saleem's Dol - The Valley of Tambourines, a depiction of the Turkish-Kurdish conflict at the Iran and Iraq border, will apparently go on as that film received a NC16 rating.
Torino GLBT Film Festival Awards
2008 Torino GLBT Film Festival: April 17–25.
April 26 update: Santiago Otheguy (above, right) directed and wrote (from a story he'd co-written with Juan Solanas) the Argentinian drama. La León, winner of the jury's best film award at the 2008 Torino GLBT Film Festival. Set in northern Argentina's Paraná Delta, La León depicts the conflict that develops between a lonely gay river worker (Jorge Román) and the captain of a passenger-boat (Daniel Valenzuela), in what sounds like a revamped take on Billy Budd. In Variety, Jay Weissberg wrote, “Beautifully textured b&w widescreen lensing conveys everything La León wants to say about isolation and longing, visualizing the distances between people as surely as if helmer/scripter Santiago Otheguy had opted for garrulous characters.” Photo: Courtesy Torino GLBT Film Festival.
BEST FEATURE FILM
La León directed by Santiago Otheguy (Argentine/France, 2007)
SPECIAL JURY AWARD
Was am Ende zählt (Nothing Else Matters) (top photo) directed by Julia von Heinz (Germany, 2007) and Les Chansons d'amour (bottom photo) directed by Christophe Honoré (France, 2007)
BEST SHORT FILM
Alguma Coisa Assim (Something Like That) directed by Esmir Filho (Brazil, 2007)
En liten Tiger directed by Anna-Carin Andersson (Sweden, 2006)
A Jihad for Love directed by Parvez Sharma (USA/Germany/UK/France/Australia, 2007)
Darling! The Pieter-Dirk Uys Story directed by Julian Shaw (Australia, 2007) and Behikvot Ahatiha Ahasera (The Quest for the Missing Piece) by Oded Lotan (Israel, 2007)
“NUOVI SGUARDI” AWARD
Panorama directed by Loo Hui Phang (France, 2007) and Solos directed by Kan Lume and Loo Zihan (Singapore, 2007)
Love and Words directed by Sylvie Ballyot (France, 2007)
BEST FEATURE FILM
Were the World Mine directed by Tom Gustafson (USA, 2008)
BEST SHORT FILM
Café com Leite by Daniel Ribeiro (Brazil, 2007)
Darling! The Pieter-Dirk Uys Story directed by Julian Shaw (Australia, 2007)
Narrative Jury: Pier Maria Bocchi, filmcritic/journalist (Italy), Melania G. Mazzucco, writer (Italy), Joao Pedro Rodrigues, director (Portugal), Andrea Sperling, producer (USA)
Documentary Jury: Jamie Babbit, director (USA), Lillian Faderman, writer/historian (USA), Joao Ferreira, director of Queer Lisboa - Lisbon Lesbian & Gay Film Festival (Portugal)
Short Film Jury: John Lovett, artist (USA), Jamie Travis, director (Canada), Yang Yang, director of Bejing Lesbian & Gay Film Festival (China)
Nuovi Sguardi Award Jury: Ricke Merighi, Davide Oberto, Cosimo Santoro
Torino GLBT Film Festival website