July 17th 2004

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Indonesian elections ... and Australia

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Latham affair lifts election temperature

AGRICULTURE: Rural unrest spreads

QUARANTINE BREACH: Exotic disease outbreak threatens Qld citrus industry

INDUSTRY: Singapore recovers on back of manufacturing

FAMILY: Child care - in whose interests?

ARTS & MEDIA: 'The next program contains...'

FILM: AFA calls for ban on 'arthouse smut'

MIDDLE EAST: Can Iraq's interim government end the insurgency?

NUCLEAR WEAPONS: Terrorism marks the end of deterrence

UNITED STATES: Curtains on Camelot

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Skimming administrative fat / What about Uganda? / 17 years of war

Premier Beattie's ethanol 'mania' (letter)

Sugar Package (letter)

Mondragon (letter)

Journalists and Iraq (letter)

BOOKS: George Santayana, by Noël O'Sullivan

BOOKS: Tilting the Playing Field, by Jessica Gavora

OPINION: Time to act on North Korean tyranny

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AFA calls for ban on 'arthouse smut'

by Peter Westmore

News Weekly, July 17, 2004
The Australian Family Association (AFA) and the South Australian Attorney-General, Michael Atkinson, have called on the Classification Review Board to review the R-rating given to a French porn film, Anatomy of Hell.

The grounds of the appeal is that the film was wrongly classified, and breached the Act and the guidelines, which bar any film showing child sexual abuse. The Classification Review Board hearing will begin on July 7.

The film has been described as "an investigation into the nature of misogyny" and is an account of a woman who picks up a man at a gay bar, and pays him to spend four nights with her, and ends up with the woman falling to her death.

According to reviews, it shows a scene of child sexual abuse, and various scenes involving a woman and the gay man who uses various objects to penetrate her.

"Arthouse smut"

One reviewer, Scott Weinberg, said the film's French director, Catherine Breillat, enjoys "lingering on the slimiest portions of human sexuality", and has acquired a reputation for delivering "arthouse smut of the highest order."

Breillat herself described Anatomy of Hell as "the X of X-rated films".

Responding to suggestions that he disliked the movie "because it made me 'uncomfortable' or 'women scare me' or something else equally silly", Weinberg said, "I can spot shock value cinema when I see it; generally these movies offer very little aside from their taboo-thrashing tendencies, and such is clearly the case here."

He dismissed it as "pretentious sub-titled porn".

After the film received an R-rating, its distributor, Potential Films, arranged for it to be shown at Melbourne's Lumiere cinema, and Sydney's Chauvel and Valhalla Cinemas late in July.

But when the AFA lodged its appeal, the distributor brought forward the release of the film to July 1, in an effort to defeat the appeal process.

He denounced the Australian Family Association's "attempts to appropriate the role of censor for themselves and believe they should not be given standing to have their complaints heard by the Classification Review Board."

So much for the rights of Australians to use the processes of law to have classifications reviewed!

  • Peter Westmore

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