BSB’s article makes some good points, but it misses what I see as the big picture.
Firstly, the Becks Film Festival has the same relationship with provocative, intelligent film, as Penthouse has with literature – you might find the odd good article, but it ain’t what puts bucks in the till. It's escapist entertainment pure and simple - the bigger the hooters, the bigger the queues.
Secondly, if anyone is actually interested in expanding their viewpoint on issues like rape, a better start is to shelve the movie tickets and start talking to actual people. Say, a rape victim for instance. But of course, they’re much less likely to show you their hooters, if that’s what you’re really after..
I'd rate (insert your own judgement here – I reckon I’m being generous) 5-10% of the people glued to the Becks screen might be there to expand their mental and emotional horizons. The rest simply for the rush. How else to explain the popularity of horror movies? Listen to the typical conversation around Reservior Dogs, Pulp Fiction or any number of the violence-saturated celluloid that turn directors into stars, and investors into richer investors. There's more thought provoked by the ‘Racing Times’. The masses are hooked because it's hip to be bad, extreme, and graphic.
Every neo-liberal loves Voltaire, and God knows I'm as wary of thought-police and censors as the next person, but doesn't there come a time to simply admit the truth that what we have in place now is not working, as measured by rising violence, crime, relationship-failure rates?
Time to admit that - patronising as it may sound – while BSB may be capable of being meaningfully moved by Baise Moi, the majority are unlikely to be? And that the net loss of allowing its banning from our screens may be less than the net loss of acquiescing to the steady and incremental desensitisation that is happening, continuously, in real people.
Does any else find it strange that the only ones game enough to stand up and try to draw the line are the (often religious) extremes such as the SPCS? Since there’s clearly no danger of the art world imposing limitations on its ‘right’ to self-expression, I’m actually glad to hear that voice that cautions - ‘you can have a lot of fun without being stupid about it’ – even if that voice comes from an extreme minority. It’s what a bunch of us are already thinking, we’re just too lazy, too comfortable, or too politically correct to get up and do or say anything about it.
I don't see anything changing in the world until somehow, as societies, we start to voluntarily limit our excesses. Our blind faith in the responsibility of the individual somehow spontaneously spilling over into collective responsibility - it simply isn't working. We need to begin working as communities to establish where the boundaries lie, and be less afraid to draw a line. That’s ordinary Joes, starting to discriminate and stand up for what is healthy for our society and what isn’t. And that‘s only going to happen when we recognise that our sacrosanct ‘rights’ to see what we want, when we want it, have outstripped our maturity as a society. And it’s time to get real about it.