I'd like to say that Baise Moi is a thought-provoking social statement on the rape-culture that permeates our patriarchal society. I'd like to say that, but I can't, since I haven't been able to see it, and it's rather silly to make outrageous assertions about things that I know absolute squat about.
This is where I differ substantially from the author of "Hooters, Not Personal Development" (I'll call her/him "Ordinary Joe"), who was so very keen to make sweeping judgements about the thousands of Wellingtonians and Aucklanders who attended the film festival, claiming that we are "hooked because it's hip to be bad, extreme and graphic", and that we're after "big hooters". He then moves from the ignorant straight into the ridiculous, claiming also that we're somehow responsible for "rising violence, crime and relationship-failure rates".
First, if Ordinary Joe believes that the Incredible Film Fest exists to reap the vast profits of peddling smut, then he is obviously oblivious to the technological revolution in the field of pornography - namely the internet. If one was really after "big hooters", then there is a practically inexhaustible source of porn available at the click of a mouse, rather than the sheer economic irrationality of paying $12 to sit in a cinema for hours, just for a scene or two of that (according to Ordinary Joe) oh-so-titillating depravity. I'm sorry IFF, but the cost-smut ratio just doesn't work in your favour.
Second, and my main motivation for writing this, is his attack on the films in the festival (as well as Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction) for being as thought-provoking as 'Racing Times'. Reservoir Dogs is one of my all-time favourites, most certainly not because of the violence, but because of the raw power with which it managed to convey the humanity of the characters amidst senseless violence. Ordinary Joe's inability to see past the face-value violence is, bluntly put, not my bloody problem. The only thing sadder than these closed-minds is that now, the SPCS has made it my problem.
Films that deal with unsavoury issues - and the ideas, thoughts, experiences contained in them - should not be tolerated, they need to be embraced. I'm not asking for any divinely sanctioned rights to be bad here, because these films are NOT objects of evil. Ordinary Joe, like many other advocates of censorship, seems to believe that we all run in a "monkey see, monkey do" fashion, and that any film depicting anything bad is an automatic endorsement for evil.
Kudos to Barbara Sumner Burstyn - I agree wholeheartedly with what she said. Morality isn't about doing whatever the SPCS or Graham Caphill tell us to do, it's about being able to consider what is right, what is wrong, to decide and to live our lives accordingly.
Ordinary Joe, I would suggest that you watch Clockwork Orange, a true classic which explores this question of morality and choice far better than I can. I *would* suggest it, except that once you see it you'll probably want it banned too.
- Keith Ng
P.S. Has the police been notified about us - the psychotic, raping, murdering, chainsaw-wielding filmbuffs threatening to destroy the fabric of society?