Oh for heaven's sake, of course it shouldn't be banned.
I am old enough to have been through this censorship of books
and films thing since the 60s. Silly me I thought it was accepted
(if somewhat reluctantly in some quarters) that providing someone
was over 18 the decision as to what they wanted to read and see
and hear was generally up to them. By all means provide guidance
with ratings but leave it at that.
Banning films and other cultural artefacts is ridiculous and
naive. It is extremely frustrating to think that contemporary
Australia is still a place that is filled with fear and
immaturity, all of which means we are denied the opportunity to
see some wonderful (and some not-so-wonderful) films.
National Business Manager
It is interesting that it is a film that explores female
desire and sexuality that has been banned. A film in which a
woman's take on her own sexual needs and exploitation of those
needs is deemed too dangerous to screen. I saw the film in the US
and thought it was quite amazing, the depiction of sexual
witholding as a tool of emotional torture is very potent
territory. What is pornographic, what do the censors feel needs
to remain out of sight; in this case is it the sight of a man's
hand or penis entering a woman's vagina that is too much for us
or is it the idea behind the image?
Obviously, the ban on ROMANCE is appalling. But it puts our
politicians in good company - like the Pope who said Galileo was
evil, like Bowdler who tried to make Shakespeare fit in with
"family values" ("Family values" -- the most
benign pair of words used to justify fascist, intolerant
As one who did see ROMANCE at its Melbourne Festival screening, I
also recognise that this is also a political act. Given that
ROMANCE is very much about female sexuality, its banning is
another expression of male control over women.
Can you send me relevant addresses to whom I can make my
abhorrence known - e.g. actual address of Censorship Board,
relevant members of parliament - and with email addresses if they
have them. Actually, what about also putting them on your site
for everyone to use.
Ed: Good idea, Peter; see details at left.
Just where do these people get off? The Lolita decision was an
absolute joke (I teach kids who regularly watch "worse
" movies without restriction) and this one sounds even
sillier (without having seen the film). How about we make this
I totally disagree with their verdict to ban this or any film
at all even Salo (which I haven't seen nor would I be interested
at all). I did see Lolita and thought it was pretty good for type
of film I don't usually watch. I think all banned films should be
released with an R or something - hell, I would settle for a 21+
rating but banning & cutting films is immoral & unfair in
a democratic country - or so we thought it was.
If any country would ban a film like this, maybe Germany or UK -
or I would think the MPAA in America would slap an NC-17 on it,
like American Psycho just copped.
I will write to these fascists.
I think Romance should get an R. I have not seen the movie
personally, but the act of sex should not be taboo. As stated in
the article you ran, it is one of the expected arguments that sex
should be viewed by adults, but that should go without saying. On
that topic, it almost seems stupid that X rated movies are only
available in the territories (eg Canberra). Censorship of sex (or
anything really for that matter) is the product of a mentally
unhealthy society - it would seem that we're adopting an almost
stereotypical-American Point of view - American Psycho received
an MPAA NC-17 for sex scene, but not for realistic scenes of
serial killer violence!
In the past seven years, I have followed decisions made by the
OFLC, and am becoming more and more disappointed. Compared to the
UK, our censors are often rather lenient, but when I read a few
months back that Romance had received an 18 certificate with all
the graphic sex intact I though it'd have no problems getting
into Australia. I was so incredibly wrong.
Which leads me to this: If a serious film such as Saving Private
Ryan can have it's own tailor-made consumer advice (Graphic War
Scenes), then the OFLC should make a similar exception here -
possibly and R for High Level Realistic Sex Scenes or Depictions
of actual Sexual Activity, though even these sound perverse.
Personally, a High Level Sex Scenes would suffice!
PS. Time to lift bans on the following movies: Pasolini's
Salo, The Hills Have Eyes, I Spit on Your Grave, plus many more.
If the time, money and concern spent on censorship drive was
channeled into parental support and educational services, there
wouldn't be an issue.
Rachael Turk, Sydney
So much for 'conservative New Zealand', guys. Romance,
although causing a little titilation in the NZ media has been
granted a general cinema release just across the "pond"
from you guys. The NZ film censor argued that the film - albeit
containing graphic sexual imagery concerning the rape of a young
woman - did not contravene the censorship guidelines here in New
Zealand. The scene in question is an integral part of this art
house movie and deserves to be shown unedited.
The film will go on release here with a provisory
warning pertaining to the graphic sexual themes and
It is an adult movie which deserves to be seen by everyone who
makes the individual decision to expose themselves to such
content. Thank heaven we have some intelligent people in the
censorship office over here who can let the people decide what
to watch and not what a bureaucrat wants/wants not to watch.
Good on ya guys!
Andy Best, Wellington, New Zealand
Do we really need to be protected from this film?
An old fella a while back came up with this concept - stick a
whole bunch of people together in a box and they inevitably work
out what's best, and what's not. This is how the Humanist
"ism" came into being. Now I am residing in the late
twentieth century and I still have faith in humanity.
In terms of a Committee to discuss matters of morality, please
bring more on. I would like a committee to explain why we swallow
ritualised destructive American violent fare, when something
addressing sexuality, regeneration and growth is trying to get
out there; I would like a committee to explain why an
acquaintance who used to work as Deputy for the OFLC can push out
two bit porn . . .
Ultimately I would like a committee to tell me where Australia
is really going. Why this sudden conformist backlash? I hate to
think the generation of mine has become a generation of
conservative swine. Anyway, must go, the Directors Cut of Betty
Blue awaits on video. Go figure.
I think if we as a populus looked at the film, we'd work it
out. Might even bond us enough to figure out some identity for
this nation, either way the decision were to go.
Vox Populi! Vive la rèpublic!
Of course we should be free to view whatever we wish on adult
movie screens, with the exception of snuff movies, bestiality and
child pornography. 'Born Again' John Howard and his wowser band
of Lyons Forum Ministers, and their lackeys in the OCFL . . .
should be taken to the basement of the Old Melbourne Gaol . .
.and forced to view Jakob the Liar thirteen times.
Brian 'Eagle Leather'
Ed: That is far too cruel and unusual punishment,
What a sad and pathetic little country Australia is becoming.
We are ruled by a bunch of tyrannical sunday school teachers.
How does this abhorrent censorship gain a foothold in a free
country like Australia? What happened to the idea that freedom of
expression is the foundation of democracy? I expect and respect
the necessity of restrictions on films etc. but not an outright
ban. Who do these people think they are that they can make the
decision on my behalf as an educated adult on what I can and
cannot see? It is incredible and shocking and something must be
done! I only hope the average Aussie is stirred from their usual
apathy and complacency over this issue into some sort of action.
I hold the people behind this ban in the utmost contempt; they
are an evil that must be eliminated from our society before it is
Trevor Crooks, Hope Valley, South Australia
Ed: I sympathise with your sentiments - but I think it's not a
matter of 'evil' as a matter of ignorance.
We should have the right to choose, to vote with our feet,
which films we wish to see. The further our society gets from
gratuitous censorship the better, and I think we are ready as a
society to choose for ourselves, given adequate warnings of
course. Perhaps it is time for a new classification system
including an "R-plus" category or similar?
Who chose this commitee? I'm so sick of hearing about this
committee trying to ban or banning movies that apparently are too
explicit. This committee should stop trying to be our moral
guardians and put a rating on the film, giving us the opportunity
to decide for ourselves wether we find something offensive or