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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Censorshipped: I was tired of watching porn

Kaiju Shakedown’s got an anecdote-rich rundown of the role of the censor worldwide: “It’s the worst job in the world… You watch hundreds of movies for a living, burning out the part of your brain that once found movie going pleasurable. Your career is a dirty little secret because it’s practically an insult… Maggie (not her real name) left Malaysia to attend graduate school in the U.K. She returned to Malaysia to become a university professor but unable to find work she wound up at one of Malaysia’s few private television companies, sitting in a windowless room and watching movies… Her job is to make sure that Muslims in these films are not shown doing “haram” things: drinking, smoking, or encountering pork products. She has generated hundreds of pages of notes…: “Scene in which the Koran is discussed in relation to belief in the supernatural needs to be further looked into.” baise-toi.jpg…While Malaysia seems to operate on the principal of “when in doubt, cut it out” the truly tormented censors live in the UK and Canada… What the BBFC spends much of its time watching is porn. Every single porn film must be classified and Robin Duvall, the BBFC Director from 1999 – 2004, says that while the [UK censorship] offices are already “Dickensian…demoralized…and a little bit paranoid” he feels that regulating porn is the “least attractive and most exhausting task of an examiner.” Psychological counseling services are provided for those who have a hard time with it. [Explicit anecdotes follow.] … Probably the most hated censorship organization in North America, the Ontario Film Review Board has publicly put its foot in it more than once. In 1999 it ordered cuts in Toronto documentarian, Ron Mann’s… Grass. The charge was cruelty to animals, and the material in question was… archival footage of restrained monkeys being forced to smoke pot. The distributor took the case to the media, the ruling was overturned and the Ontario Film Review Board became a laughingstock…” Baise-Moi was one of their tougher nuts, “a French rape-revenge [film] that was too pornographic to be classified under the mainstream guidelines, but had too much violence to be classified as a pornographic movie. After much soul-searching the Board ordered a 13 second rape scene removed because they worried that if allowed, it would set a precedent for violent rape in porn. “13 seconds of someone’s art wasn’t worth an explosion of explicit rape scenes in porn flicks,” Devine says. Soon after, she retired from the board. “I was tired of watching porn.”

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“Ten years ago at Telluride, I said on a panel that theatrical distribution was dying. It seemed obvious to me. I was surprised how many in the audience violently objected: ‘People will always want to go to the movies!’ That’s true, but it’s also true that theatrical cinema as we once knew it has died. Theatrical cinema is now Event Cinema, just as theatrical plays and musical performances are Events. No one just goes to a movie. It’s a planned occasion. Four types of Event Cinema remain.
1. Spectacle (IMAX-style blockbusters)
2. Family (cartoon like features)
3. Horror (teen-driven), and
4. Film Club (formerly arthouse but now anything serious).

There are isolated pockets like black cinema, romcom, girl’s-night-out, seniors, teen gross-outs, but it’s primarily those four. Everything else is TV. Now I have to go back to episode five of ‘Looming Tower.'”
~ Paul Schrader

“Because of my relative candor on Twitter regarding why I quit my day job, my DMs have overflowed with similar stories from colleagues around the globe. These peeks behind the curtains of film festivals, venues, distributors and funding bodies weren’t pretty. Certain dismal patterns recurred (and resonated): Boards who don’t engage with or even understand their organization’s artistic mission and are insensitive to the diverse neighborhood in which their organization’s venue is located; incompetent founders and/or presidents who create only obstacles, never solutions; unduly empowered, Trumpian bean counters who chip away at the taste and experiences that make organizations’ cultural offerings special; expensive PR teams that don’t bring to the table a bare-minimum familiarity with the rich subcultural art form they’re half-heartedly peddling as “product”; nonprofit arts organizations for whom art now ranks as a distant-second goal behind profit.”
~ Eric Allen Hatch