Film Censorship: James Franco’s Protest Video Over Australian Film Ban

I Want Your LoveThe film titled “I Want Your Love,” a collaboration between Hollywood star James Franco and director Travis Mathews, has been banned by Australian Classification Board. The Board stated the film was gratuitous in its depiction of gay sex, even though they did not view the film. Actor James Franco posted a video (below) in protest of the ban.

The film follows a gay couple in San Francisco. This subject matter is no different than any other “traditional” love story, other than the fact that both people are of the same gender. One would think in 2013, this would not be a problem. Aussie censors don’t see it that way.

In defense of the movie, Mathews states “I think the Australian Classification Board made the decision based on the synopsis, not having seen the film, saying it’s gratuitous. I could argue against it, but it feels like a trap. This is a larger issue that an adult viewing audience should be able to make up their own mind about this.”

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Posted in Film Censorship, LGBT
One comment on “Film Censorship: James Franco’s Protest Video Over Australian Film Ban
  1. Barleysinger says:

    As an Australian citizen who moved here fleeing oppression, I know from my own experiences that that the US has far more censorship that Australia does even if what happens in oz is often legal. I have no idea what these idiots are thinking on this specific movie. I expect they will get sued. It will be a five minute case. Gender discrimination (including on sexual orientation) is illegal here. You can legally change your gender with a form available at the post office. Inheritance and government safety-net have been same-sex friendly for ages.

    We get more explicit stuff on TV here that on cable in the USA (we got the entire uncensored “Queer as Folk” series on free-to-air TV here). We have nudity on our children’s TV show PLAYSCHOOL (an extended spot on breast feeding with a pretty mother wearing no top for about 10-15 minutes as her toddler plays and her baby nurses) and even in government TV adverts for “Work Cover” there is nudity. “Rove Live” had a nude relay race on TV. You can say the “F” word on the news, or anytime after 8:30PM on any station. I still recall the news when a senator called John Howard (prime minister at the time) an “ass lick” and it was on the news at all hours for a few weeks.

    Secondarily (and very important) most Americans have no idea how much their media *IS* censored by the “soft censorship” of not offending the current political trends, not offending the religious insane, and it is all done by way of $money$. It targets unpopular political speech (that is hoe the TYV show “ELLEN” got canceled) and it forces people to compromise (or not get to make their movie or publish their book at all) so that religious fanatics will not picket the theaters & bookstores, and write complaints to advertisers. Anything that might be deemed offensive has to be toned down to appease the 2% of religious nuts who attend church all the time, and yes it is that low in reality. Have a look at how many seats there are in the churches in a given city. Religious people claim that about 70% of Americans are deeply religious…but will 70%of the population of New York or LA. fit into the churches in those places – nope. They tiny area of Washington State I grew up in had 200+ churches for 2 small counties, and 2.5% attendance (as a very religious area) but then peoepl did not lie about the statistcs back then to try and influence politics.

    In the USA folks are told that the MPAA has no legal powers of censorship, they just rate moves. BUT you just try and get an unrated film (or NC17) shown in enough locations in the USA to make a profit. There are almost no theaters in the USA that show ANYTHING that has not been rated by the MPAA with an “R” rating or lower. A huge number of film get butchered to make them stay PG-13 or R every year. Oh yes, very large cities ‘might’ have one small art theater willing to show a film like “Idiots” or “SMALL BUS”…but then – those places are usually small and they only have so many shows (nearly all at night) for per year, and there are so many important films that are out there that nobody else will show, including important documentaries like “Blowing in the Wind”.

    Soft censorship stops directors and producers from making the movies they want to make. It recently stopped a film of H.P. Lovecraft’s book “At the Mountains of Madness” from being made (executive meddling over ratings and creative control, with the man who made Pan’s Labyrinth. After all – you only get REAL freedom of the press in a capitalist system if you can afford to own the entire publishing company, and the press and your own distribution chain. For a well made movie, that means footing a $5 million dollar production bill all by yourself. This also stops authors from being able to make a living at writing without constant compromise and re-writes, and it stops musicians from being able to publish a lot of their music.

    In the USA, a music publishing giants executives they tried to stop NIRVANA from having the cover art they wanted for their most famous album, because it an a fetus with a penis in the shot (the executives thought that a fetus with a penis was obscene).

    As for Aussie censorship – We are far more grown up that our government is. Nnobody here wants it at all. Well not many people and none of them are sane or liked by anyone else. However even when the laws DID change in 2010, we still have not been able to stop it. A few years ago the censorship board here lost almost all of it’s legal power, and movie ratings officially became “suggestions” as did the ratings for books. At that point “Refused Classification” legally was not supposed to mean what it used to mean.

    Even when they officially stopped most of it, the people at the border kept acting like the law had not been changed. Almost none of the people here (religious or not) really want any censorship of anything that does not victimize a human in its production.

    This is what really did happen. After the legal changes occurred in the Howard government, a manga compilation of an entire work was published in the USA by an Aussie author. One chapter of the Manga had been refused classification under the old system. The censorship board, without looking at the entire work in context, (nobody there read it) chose to make the entire work “Refused Classification”. This was not supposed to stop it from entering the country anymore, or being sold….it was legally “a suggestion”. But when his publisher tried to send his book here they were refused at the border by people who did not get that things hand changed (and still don’t).

    So there he was in his home with his own original artwork to view, he could not get a copy of his own bound and profesionally finished work sent to HIM in Australia because one chapter included a terrible scene of sexual horror (which in context was SUPPOSED to be terrible). The the censorship board skimmed that one chapter and as such they also refused classification of the compiled work containing the chapter when it finally came out as an entire collection.

    So the entire thing was refuse classification, and the border folk took this as a license to ban its import into Australia – they insist that ratings are still legally binding on import. The author was given the run around on this point. The censorship people claimed that under the law the “Refused Classification” was only legally a suggestion and they had not right to bad anything for import anymore. BUT the people at the border said the opposite – and claimed that the “Refused Classification” meant the item in question could not be imported.

    Nobody at the censorship board would contact the border officials.
    Nobody at the border would contact the censorship board.
    Nobody else had the power to correct the confusion!

    Eventually the author got around this catch 22 by appealing the classification in view of the entire context of the book. The board had not viewed the entire book. After this appeal they got the book on a late Friday and made it “classified” on Monday morning (nobody could read it that fast).

    So those people at the border in bureaucratic positions (who love their power trips) have not figured out that the laws have changed. Those at the censorship board are also 20 years behind on basic gynecology (they insist that female ejaculation is a myth – they need to learn to read). The people are all rather confused by this mess, and a bit annoyed…especially with how uneven (bigoted) the ratings people act toward content with open homosexual sex in them.

    One note – the fellow here CONROY, the one who wanted to “censor the web”…well now he was actually a YANK. He was a U.S. born fundamentalist, and he very quietly kept changing what his (now abandoned) idea for a filter would be. First he insisted it would be “opt in only” and everyone else would still get the web uncensored. Nobody had (much) trouble with that aside from their filter banning all information on breast cancer and sex education (idiots).

    BUT then without bothering to tell anybody, Conroy took it on himself to change things (fundy that he is).Without telling the people or even the Parliament he changed his ideal for this “filter” FIRST from an “opt in “ to an “opt out” ,. Then he took away the “opt out” and most people were planning on just joining an overseas VPN. Naughty of him – and he even lied about it on TV, good Christian that he is.

    Meanwhile internet businesses started leaving the nation at the same time that the government was spending billions on making a much faster internet infrastructure available to everyone (but with no content to see). Now Stephen Conroy is out of his office (by way of personal attacks by the new fundamentalist Catholic who is Prime Minister – and help us all).

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