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25/6/2004: ANATOMY OF HELL TRIGGERS CENSORSHIP CONSPIRACY

The Australian Family Association (AFA) has applied for a review [meaning ban] of the R classification for Catherine Breillat’s latest sexually explicit film, Anatomy of Hell, without having seen the film, based on the classification report. In what appears to be a conspiracy, the AFA has prompted the South Australian Attorney General to also lodge an appeal – without having viewed the film.

Last time the AFA appealed – in an effort to have Baise-Moi banned – it was ruled ineligible by the Appeals Board. The move to have the SA AG’s appeal alongside means that even if the AFA is again ruled ineligible, the AG’s appeal will stand.

The film was classified by the OFLC on May 5, and the AFA lodged its appeal within the 30 day time limit – but applied to have the appeal fee waived. This process dragged out until June 23, by which time the ditributor, Potential Films, had already ordered the prints and marketing materials based on an R rating, for a July 1 release.

Potential's Managing Director Mark Pratt was only notified of the appeal on June 23. It will be heard by the Classifictaion Review Board on July 7 – a week after the film is released at the Lumiere in Melbourne and the Chauvel and Valhalla cinemas in Sydney. The grounds of the appeal are unknown. "The AFA has a habit of wanting to ban sexually explicit films; it is wasting taxpayers’ money with these silly appeals when members of the public are well able to decide for themselves, based on the classification given," says Andrew L. Urban.

Rated R18+ and with consumer advisory warnings that the film contains "STRONG THEMES, SEXUAL ACTIVITY, HIGH LEVEL SEX SCENES" Anatomy of Hell had its world premiere at the Rotterdam Film Festival earlier this year and tells the story of a woman paying a gay man to watch her "from an angle from which she should never be viewed". Breillat, known for her sexually explicit films, says of this, her 10th film, `This time I have decided to see it through to the end. I have decided that I couldn't go any further, that the 10th would be the conclusion of a decalogue. The X of X-rated film.'

"If we start banning films that originally pass the existing classification guidelines on grounds put forward by any one group, we can look forward to censorship by lobby group and complete mayhem. If the AFA wants to challenge the guidelines, they should do so through the usual channels of public debate and reasoned argument," says Urban.

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