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Dirty Film For Dirty Minds

15 April 2002 11.30 pm.

The film "In the Realm of the Senses" has now replaced the French sex-violence film "Baise-Moi" (transl. "F`~~k Me") in Beck's Incredible Film Fest currently running in Auckland (and then later in Wellington). "Baise-Moi" which was to have had its premiere screening in New Zealand on Saturday night 13 April at the Civic, was pulled from the festival because of the imposition of an interim restriction order by the High Court in Wellington . The order was made on Friday 12 April and issued by Justice Hammond following an application to the High Court by the Society for Promotion of Community Standards Inc. under s. 67 of the Films, Videos and Publications Classification Act 1993. The order was the first ever granted under the Act.

The Film Festival director Mr Anthony Timpson chose to replace "Baise-Moi" with what he boasts is an even more explicit film - "In the Realm of the Senses". The Sunday News (April 14, p. 2) describes it as featuring "scenes of group sex, gay sex and sex with food. In one clip an old man's genitals are used for rock-throwing target practice."

In a decision dated 7 August 1985 the Chief Film Censor classified the VHS/PAL version of the Japanese film "In the Realm of the Senses" R 20 ("Exhibition only to persons 20 years of age and over"). The censor's descriptive note on the film which was directed by Nagisa Oshima, states "content may offend". No excisions were recommended. In an earlier decision by the Tribunal dated 14 May 1981 the film was rated R 20 but restricted to screenings at film festivals. Again no excisions were recommended.

John Hoyles, Professor of English at Hull University, has expressed his views on the film "In the Realm of the Senses", also known as "Ai No Corrida", stating:

"In 1976 Ai No Corrida, with its erections, non-simulated fu~~ing, fellatio, egg in vagina, heroine yanking little boy's penis, children throwing snowballs at old man's genitals, was banned in England.... Oshima's film is dirty, like all dirty films, a product of a sexual fit. It is also a dirty film, unlike most dirty films, a product of the poetic imagination. Yes, .... there is such a thing as the pornographic imagination. And Oshima's film tackles ... sex and death, sado-masochism, ...perversion and fetishism...Sada's slow dribble over Kichi's penis; Kichi licking Sada's menstrual blood; the mock wedding ceremony when a virgin is deflowered with a bird-shaped dildo; .. Sada forcing her bespeckled old teacher to slap her face and pinch her nipples harder; ... Sada munching a tuft of Kichi's public hair; the penis and knife in Sada's hands in extreme close-up; ... the intercourse between Kichi and a 68 year-old woman who looks happy, then serious, then very serious, then dead; .. the long, carefully crafted sex and strangulation scenes (... blood streams down ... in extreme close-up)... Sada yanking Kich'is overworked flaccid penis (recalling the earlier scene with the little boy), .. the ultimate castration and death." [Opinion piece dated 29th August 2000].

The Society for Promotion of Community Standards believes that this film is "injurious to the public good". The censors agree to the extent that they have ruled it should be off limits to all those under 18 years of age. However, the Society asks why such sick pornographic material featuring genital mutilation, sadomasochism and numerous perversions can be treated as acceptable "entertainment" for "adults" by the censors when so much of its content is "objectionable" as defined under the Films Act. The Society points out that when the public is confronted with sex and strangulation crimes and the like on news reports they are repulsed by such inhumanity and barbarism. Is it any wonder that most New Zealanders are sickened and angry when they see theatres screening voyeuristic presentations of such morally depraved activities under the banner of "entertainment" and "art".


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