ST Forum: Why ban on Brides, Boy

11 April 2009
Straits Times Print Forum

Why ban on Brides, Boy

We refer to the article Six Films Out Of Film Fest (Life!, April 10).

The Board of Film Censors has classified about 191 films for this year’s Singapore International Films Festival. It has had to disallow two films Brides Of Allah (Shahida) and Boy as they exceed the film classification guidelines.

Brides Of Allah is a documentary which features interviews with Palestinian female terrorists who are in prison for suicide bombing attempts.

Owing to the sensitive nature of the film, the board consulted the Films Consultative Panel. The panel felt that the film is sensitive as the female terrorists did not seem to be remorseful and were determined to
perpetrate acts of violence should they have another opportunity.

The panel was concerned about the influence of such a film on those who are like-minded. They were also concerned that the documentary’s distorted view of Islam could lead to a misunderstanding of the religion and create fear about its teachings.

The film provides a platform for terrorists to champion their cause. The terrorists strongly express their hatred for non-Muslims and use religion to justify their acts of violence, asserting that they will be rewarded after death.

Films that portray terrorists or terrorist organisations in a positive light are disallowed under the film classification guidelines as they are against national interest.

The second film, Boy, revolves around a teenager who is attracted to a young dancer in a gay bar and ends up having a homosexual relationship with him. The film includes a prolonged and explicit homosexual love-making sequence between the teenager and the dancer.

The panel was also consulted about the film. Members felt that the film normalised homosexuality and that the homosexual scene was prolonged and explicit and filmed in a romanticised manner. The panel chairman, Mr Vijay Chandran, observed that ‘the homosexual love-making scene has exceeded the guidelines and the board, by allowing it, will shift the markers set by the community’.

The board agrees and hence Boy has not been passed for classification.

When the board assesses films, it looks at content and presentation as well as the context of scenes and their impact. Films such as Wendy And Lucy, The Wackness and Men’s Group have brief religiously sensitive utterances and they have been given the highest rating of R21.

While the board gives leeway to film festivals, it sees the need to signal that a discerning and mature mind is required to comprehend the context and use of such utterances. The other films which require edits have prolonged and explicit sequences that have far exceeded the film classification guidelines.

Amy Chua
Chairman
Board of Film Censors

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