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Wannabe Censor Attacks Film Festival – Again

6 July 2004

Wannabe Censor Attacks Film Festival – Again

Anti-Film Festival crusader David Lane has struck again. The Society for the Promotion of Community Standards was granted leave yesterday by the Secretary for Internal Affairs to appeal the censor’s decisions regarding two French films in this year’s Film Festival. The first film is Anatomy of Hell, a provocative exploration of misogyny by Catherine Breillat (Romance). The other film is Twentynine Palms, a disturbing road movie directed by Bruno Dumont who won the Grand Prix at Cannes in 1999 for his film Humanity. Both films have been classified R18 with appropriate warnings regarding explicit sex and violence.

Festival director Bill Gosden was not surprised to learn today that Lane has now applied for injunctions against the Festival’s screenings of these films. “This has been his tactic, ever since the Society proved successful in keeping films from showing at the Incredible Film Festival two years ago. It is most unlikely that anyone from the Society has seen the films.

From past experience, the Society may not even mount a substantial case against these films. Lane’s organisation has ultimately withdrawn from the last four appeals that have been granted to them. The objective appears to be a short-term one: the disruption of the Festivals, using the injunction facility available once leave to appeal has been granted.”

“I am at a complete loss to understand why the Secretary for Internal Affairs continues to allow these appeals to go ahead. In my opinion,” says Gosden, “the so-called Society abuses the facility that the law provides for citizens to question censorship classifications. It’s beginning to look to me like a bizarre personal campaign by the Society’s one high-profile member to declare his moral superiority to the film censor – and to the organisers of film festivals.

And it’s costing the country a bundle in legal work. In terms of actually making a difference to the community it purports to represent, all the Society succeeds in doing is creating publicity for David Lane’s point of view and for films that people might never otherwise have given any attention.”

“By behaving in a socially responsible manner ourselves, we leave the Festival vulnerable to these attacks. If we’d delayed submission of these films until closer to the scheduled screenings, we’d have been publicising them without the appropriate censorship warnings. By providing less consumer information we could have proceeded with our screenings without the enormous inconvenience of having to mount a legal defence. If the Secretary for Internal Affairs continues to treat the Society as a legitimate censorship authority, we might as well submit the films direct to David Lane.”

“In the meantime we have little choice but to prepare, once again, to defend our right to show, and the public’s right to see films which have already been passed by the Classification Office.”


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