- the film on teenage life too hot for Australia,
by Gary Maddox:
May 2003 (Credit:
Sydney Morning Herald)
week out from opening night, the Sydney Film Festival
has been caught up in a censorship row after the banning
of a controversial American film.
film, Ken Park, includes scenes of explicit sex, suicide
and auto-erotic asphyxiation. It has been refused
classification by the Office of Film and Literature
it premiered at the Venice Film Festival last September,
some observers described Ken Park as too hard-core
for cinema release. But it has since screened at numerous
by the controversial American film-maker and photographer
Larry Clark, best known for Kids and Another Day in
Paradise, the film is about four teenagers struggling
with uncertain futures in suburban California. The
film's co-director is Ed Lachman, who was the Oscar-nominated
cinematographer on Far From Heaven.
the first time since the sexually explicit French
film Baise-Moi last year, the Office of Film and Literature
Classification has refused classification for a film.
After a 6-1 decision, the board said Ken Park dealt
with sexual matters "in such a way that they
offend against the standards of morality, decency
and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults".
The film contained scenes of actual sexual activity
involving actors playing minors.
R18+ classification permits material that is high
in impact," the board said. "The intensity,
cumulative effect, tone and treatment of the scenes
of actual sexual activity exceeded this impact test."
film is understood to have been submitted for classification
by a distributor wanting to release it on video. The
festival has appealed and hopes for a decision before
the film's scheduled screenings on June 17 and 18.
festival's president, Cathy Robinson, was upset and
angry at the decision.
critical issue is about the role of a film festival,"
festival-goer seeing Ken Park, which she described
as a significant film dealing with social issues affecting
young adults, had to be over 18.
Robinson said it was ironic that the 50th festival
was seeing a return to the censorship controversies
that dogged the festival in the past. In 1969, there
was a storm when the Swedish film I Love, You Love
was banned for showing a pregnant woman having sex.
reached our 50th event and we're still dealing with
the same kind of issues as festivals past," she
director of the festival, Gayle Lake, described Ken
Park as a groundbreaking film that should not be banned.
the film is controversial. Yes, it will divide audiences.
But it should be seen and it should be debated."
Morning Herald (supplier of Media Man Australia
Makers and Movie Stars, by Greg Tingle
Man Australia: Entertainment News
Robbie Swan, The EROS Association