Censorship News & Updates

Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile (2022) – PG to G

October 22, 2022

Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile (2022) - Poster

Now that cinemas have reopened, the trend of films being cut for lower classifications appears to be back. First up is Sony’s LYLE, LYLE, CROCODILE (2022) which was initially PG-rated. A second submission saw it classified G, which indicates Australian audiences may be getting a censored version when it opens on December 26.

Australian distributors are sometimes willing to censor a movie in their search for a more child-friendly classification. The most infamous case was the cuts that Roadshow made to Disney’s THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1996). More recently, the word ‘crap’ was removed from SMALLFOOT (2018).

Censored Swedish Movies

October 21, 2022

As the Naked Wind from the Sea (1968) & Ann and Eve (1970) - Posters

In the late 1960s/early 1970s, Swedish films were often censored in Australia.
This did not entirely disappear with the November 1971 introduction of the R-rating, but it did at least allow for fewer cuts.

AS THE NAKED WIND FROM THE SEA (1968) is an example of a title that was submitted both before and after liberalisation.

While ANYBODY’S (1970), banned December 1972 and passed March 1974, shows how it took a couple of years for the R-rating to bed down.

See the Film Censorship Timeline for examples of what was being cut and banned from November 1971 to 1973.

Mac Ahlberg, Torgny Wickman and Joe Sarno directed many of the Swedish movies that continued to have issues in the 1970s.

Matinée (2009) & MUFF

October 7, 2022

Matinée (2009) - Poster

Jennifer Lyon Bell’s MATINÉE (2009) is back on the site. It contains the background to its no-show at the 2009 Melbourne Underground Film Festival (MUFF) and the Sexy International Film Festival.

It was another of those cases where the Classification Board refuses a film festival exemption yet would happily award it an X18+ for home viewing.

For Richard Wolstencroft and MUFF, it was but the latest of a series of censorship battles. In 2001, he dropped eight titles, including SALÒ, OR THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM (1975), from a planned CENSORSHIP 2001 series.

THE TOOLBOX MURDERS (1978) and three other titles followed in 2004, and problems with WELCOME TO GREENSBOROUGH (2005) in 2005.

Despite being rated X18+, DAMON AND HUNTER: DOING IT TOGETHER (2006) screened at MUFF in 2006. Things did not go well in 2007, with seven titles, including Tony Comstock’s ASHLEY AND KISHA: FINDING THE RIGHT FIT (2007), refused exemptions.

Following the issues with MATINÉE in 2009, Richard Wolstencroft went ahead with a MUFF 11 protest screening of Bruce La Bruce’s L.A. ZOMBIE (2010). It resulted in the Victorian Police raiding his house and him being charged and fined $750.

Pieces (2022) – MA15+ appeal fails

September 30, 2022

Pieces (2022) - Poster

The Classification Review Board has confirmed the MA15+ rating of PIECES (2022). The decision of the three-member panel was unanimous.

The Classification Board’s consumer advice of “Strong mental health themes including references to suicide” has been modified to include “and self-harm”.

The review was a result of an appeal by Third Storey Pictures.

Redeeming Love (2022) – Twice M-rated

September 22, 2022

Redeeming Love (2022) DVD

Wikipedia describes REDEEMING LOVE (2022) as a Christian Western romance, based on the Biblical story of Hosea.

On July 4, a 140-minute version received an M (Mature themes, violence and sex) rating. This was followed on August 12, by a 123-minute EDITED VERSION which was classified M (Mature themes and violence).

The description of the UNCUT VERSION lists the following items which are missing from the second submission.

THEMES: The film deals with themes including…child slavery, trafficking…

VIOLENCE: A man is killed with a garrotte.

SEX: A man and a woman implicitly have sex in bed. A clothed woman is seen straddling a clothed man and rocking slightly.

NUDITY: A woman is seen naked several times, with her breasts, buttocks and genitals obscured by hands, hair or objects in the scene.

FEATURETTE: Deleted scenes.

The DVD was released on August 31 with the M (Mature themes, violence and sex) rating on the cover and a listed running time of 129-minutes. This points to it being the UNCUT VERSION.

Does anyone know if the EDITED VERSION has been released?
Was it a “clean” version especially prepared for Christians? Or just a failed attempt by Universal Sony Pictures Home Entertainment to get a PG?

Assassin’s Creed® Syndicate (2015) – Banned

September 17, 2022

Assassin's Creed® Syndicate (2015) - Ubisoft

On September 10, Ubisoft’s ASSASSIN’S CREED® SYNDICATE was listed as Refused Classification under the automated International Age Rating Coalition system.

Update: September 21, 2022

This decision has now disappeared from the National Classification Database.

See our Game IARC Censorship Timeline for this and all other RC decisions.

Video game violence report – FOI

September 15, 2022

The impacts of violent video games from an Australian perspective - September 2021 Research report

The September 2021 report, ‘The impacts of violent video games from an Australian perspective’ has now been the subject of a Freedom of Information request.

According to the Classification Board, it ‘… was commissioned to provide an updated understanding of the relationship between violent video games and aggression, as well as any impacts of violent video games on attitudes towards women and youth mental health’.

The 433-page PDF contains 34-documents, which cover it from inception to release. They include procurement plans, quotes, invoices, meetings, draft reports and internal e-mails.

FOI 23-001 can be found on the disclosure log of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications and the Arts.

Sissy (2022) – R18+ to MA15+

September 14, 2022

Sissy (2022) Poster

The Classification Review Board has dropped the rating of SISSY (2022). The decision of the three-member panel was unanimous.

This follows an appeal by This is Arcadia against the R18+ (High impact injury detail) received on August 17. Their October release will now be rated MA15+ (Strong themes & violence, blood and gore).

IARC – August RC ratings

September 9, 2022

The Gallery - Interactive Film (2022) Aviary Studios

August saw three games banned under the automated International Age Rating Coalition system. Two of these decisions have since disappeared from the National Classification Database. No reclassifications are listed.

On July 22, THE GALLERY, a hostage thriller from Aviary Studios, was banned. This decision also disappeared, but has now been replaced by an RC entry for THE GALLERY – INTERACTIVE FILM.

Update: September 11, 2022

An RC entry for THE GALLERY has now reappeared, backdated to June 18.

Update: October 22, 2022

The RC entry for THE GALLERY has again disappeared from the National Classification Database.

More details can be found in the Game IARC Censorship Timeline.

1970 Sydney Film Festival

September 2, 2022

A Married Couple (1969) & Like Night and Day (1969)

The background has been added to the banning of A MARRIED COUPLE (1969) and LIKE NIGHT AND DAY (1969). Both had been submitted to the Censorship Board before their intended screenings at the June 1970 Sydney Film Festival.

In previous years, the festival has had numerous clashes with the Board. Although things improved with the November 1971 introduction of the R-rating, incidents of censorship still occurred. The Danish film DEAR IRENE (1971) was cleared on appeal in 1972; PIXOTE (1981) had issues in 1982 and KEN PARK (2002) was banned outright in 2003.

Allan King’s A MARRIED COUPLE (1969) never did screen in Australia, however, it is currently available on YouTube. The ‘indecent language’ that once saw it banned would now be comfortably M-rated were it not for a single word that would presumably push it into MA15+.

Like other Swedish films in the pre-R era, LIKE NIGHT AND DAY (1969) did get a cut Australian release. Even after the introduction of the R-rating, Swedish films by directors such as Mac Ahlberg and Torgny Wickman continued to have problems.

Pink Flamingos (1972)

August 19, 2022

Pink Flamingos (1972) John Waters

John Waters’ PINK FLAMINGOS (1972) is now back on the site just in time for the 50th Anniversary. It was not until 1976 that it was picked up for Australian distribution. The Censorship Board inflicted heavy cuts on the R-rated print that played theatrically into the 1980s.

Several uncut versions were banned on video until finally, in 1984; it slipped through with the newly introduced X-rating. This was during the brief window where sex and violence were allowed in the X and titles such as CALIGULA (1979) and ROSEMARY’S KILLER (1981) could pass uncut.

Guideline changes soon meant that the X classification was no longer available, so in 1997 it was again banned. If you caught this R-rated 25th Anniversary rerelease then you saw a censored print.

Would be interesting to see what the Classification Board would make of it in 2022 for a 50th Anniversary rerelease.

The Kashmir Files (2022) – R18+ FOI

August 19, 2022

The Kashmir Files (2022) poster

On March 10, the Classification Board awarded THE KASHMIR FILES (2022) an R18+ (High impact themes and violence). The background to this rating has now been released as part of a Freedom of Information request. It consists of seven documents, including the decision report and the classifier’s handwritten notes. FOI 23-006 can be found on the disclosure log of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications and the Arts.

On March 9, the BBFC awarded it a 15 (strong bloody violence, threat, brief scene of sexual humiliation). While the New Zealand OFLC initially gave it an R16 (Graphic violence, offensive language and cruelty). This latter decision ended up being challenged by the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand and increased to R18. An FOI request also revealed documents concerning the case.

It is interesting to note that, when it comes to violence, the Australian Classification Board is usually the most liberal of the three.

To Love Ru Darkness (2018-20) – RC

July 28, 2022

To Love Ru Darkness, Volume 15 (2020)

The Classification Board have just banned four volumes of TO LOVE RU DARKNESS. The editions are the English translations published by Seven Seas Entertainment.

In 2020, three volumes of NO GAME NO LIFE received RC ratings. While in 2012, another delivery of manga was similarly stopped at the border.

2021 saw a marked increase in seized publications forwarded to the Classification Board. Of the fourteen titles submitted, only EDIBLES: (2019) was banned. The Publication Censorship Timeline contains the full list.

Update: October 21, 2022

Six more volumes of TO LOVE RU DARKNESS have just been Refused Classification.

9 Songs (2004)

July 22, 2022

9 Songs (2004) Directed by Michael Winterbottom

Michael Winterbottom’s 9 SONGS (2004) is back on the site. It contains the full story of the initial X18+ and subsequent R18+ rating. The ROMANCE (1999) precedent had opened the way for some ‘actual sex’ at R18+.

It is unusual for a distributor such as Accent to receive an X18+. A similar occurrence came in 1991 with RCA/Columbia/Hoyts Video and Radley Metzger’s SCORE (1973).

9 SONGS upset the usual suspects, including the Australian Family Association, Festival of Light, Fred Nile (Christian Democrat NSW), Brian Harradine (Independent), Julian McGauran (National), John Murphy (Labor) and Michael Atkinson (Labor SA). Their complaints had some success when the South Australian Classification Council (defunct 2019) increased it back to X18+. This kept it out of cinemas and stores in SA.

The distributor, Accent Film Entertainment, still has a Blu-ray available on their site. The 9 SONGS controversy came on the back of their troubles with IRREVERSIBLE (2002) and their later attempted release of A SERBIAN FILM (2010).

June 17, 2022

Romance (1999) - Catherine Breillat - Poster

Catherine Breillat’s ROMANCE (1999) is now back on the site.
It contains the full story of the refusal and subsequent rating that opened the way for ‘actual sex’ in the R18+ rating. Previously, this had been only allowed in documentaries and white-coaters such as LANGUAGE OF LOVE (1969) and SEXUAL FREEDOM IN DENMARK (1970).

The database entry includes a list of ‘actual sex’ titles that were R18+ in the wake of the ROMANCE decision. Included are the formally censored IN THE REALM OF THE SENSES (1976) and Catherine Breillat’s later film, ANATOMY OF HELL (2004).

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