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“Bully” Banned From Film Festival

The Society for the Promotion of Community Standards Inc.

Press Release 11 May 2002

“Bully” Banned From Film Festival

Notice of Interim Restriction Order

The Society for the Promotion of Community Standards Inc. was directed on Friday 10 May by the President of the Film and Literature Board of Review, Ms Claudia Elliott, to serve the following notice on the Office of Film and Literature Classification and Essential Films Limited, the New Zealand distributor of the film “Bully”:

“An interim restriction order has been made by the President of the Film and Literature Board of Review in respect to the showing of the video or film Bully, until the Board has had the opportunity to review the decision of the Classification Office in respect to the classification of the publication. Pursuant to s 51 of the Films, Videos and Publication Act 1993 this order shall remain in force until the Board reviews the publication or one of the factors in s 51 (2) of the Act is activated.”

The Office of Film and Literature Classification rated “Bully” R18 in a written decision dated 20 March 2002. The censor’s descriptive note states: “Contains violence, sexual violence, drug use and sex scenes”. The film was to have screened at the Beck’s Incredible Film Festival on Saturday 11 May and Sunday 19 May. “Bully” is the third film from the festival to be temporarily banned as a result of recent appeals made by the Society to the High Court and Board. The Japanese film “Visitor Q” was banned by order of the Board on 11 April and the French sex-violence film “Baise Moi” on 12 April by order of the High Court.

Bully is a film about middle-class teenagers who conspire to kill another kid. The film is described in the Beck’s Incredible Film Festival brochure as:

“Unflinching in its portrayal of nudity, sex, rape, and violence, BULLY threatens to be an unrelenting freakshow of parading teen flesh and debauchery (which it is, in spades) if not for its mordant, witty, gallows humour.”

The Board is expected to convene in July to consider an oral submission from the Society on the classification of “Bully”.


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