Japanese Films

Japanese movies, cut and banned before the November 1971 liberalisation of the Australian censorship system.


Directed by Akira Kurosawa / 1961 / Japan / IMDb

December 1970 / Rated: A / Length: 9946 feet / Time: 110:31 / Censored by 00:01 / Reason: violence

Post-November 1971 rating

Resubmitted by Festival Video and passed with a PG (Occasional low level violence) rating in August 1990. The VHS ran 106-minutes.

Woman in the Dunes

Directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara / 1964 / Japan / IMDb

Censored for screening at the 1965 Sydney Film Festival.

August 21, 1965
In the light of the newly relaxed attitude on book censorship, as seen in the release of four major titles, it is sad to report that one of the important films shown at the 1965 Sydney Film Festival, the Japanese WOMAN IN THE DUNES, was cut by the Commonwealth Film Censorship Board. From information received we understand that Australian Film Festivals were the only ones in the world where this film was shown with any censor cuts. This underlines many points made in Mr Harry Whitmore’s excellent article on film censorship, “Wholesome or Prissy?” (May 8).

The Sydney Film Festival would like to go on record in stating its regret at the attitude of the Film Censor towards Festivals and Film Societies which screen only the world’s finest films to a limited, adult and discerning audience.

Most Festivals and Film Societies overseas (which also screen to restricted mature audiences) are not subject to censorship at all, and this is as it should be, as the work of the world’s major film directors should not be subject to mutilation.

It is especially disturbing that the work of the enormously talented Jean-Luc Godard should suffer so much in this country: two of his films have been banned entirely here, another suffered cuts in a key sequence. Godard’s work is highly regarded overseas.

Films should be seen in their entirety, and there was nothing, we believe, in WOMAN IN THE DUNES that could not be seen by an adult Festival audience. (Or, for that matter, in any of the other major films which either received minor cuts or, as has been the case, were so heavily butchered they could not be screened at all.)

In the 1920 s when the great Russian classics like Eisenstein’s BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN [1925] were generally banned in England, Film Societies were formed in order to bring these masterpieces to a minority audience who would appreciate their artistry. It seems incongruous that forty years later in Australia, minority audiences are still not permitted to view some important films. In recent years a highly commercial, but extremely sick, horror film by a popular director has been widely shown to general audiences, while some major works of art cannot be seen by any audience, even one formed solely to study world cinema.

It just doesn’t make sense.

It is to be hoped that Australian Film Censorship may soon realise that there is a specialised audience for the art of the cinema and may view films for that audience accordingly. Until then we shall continue voicing our protests over the Government’s policy towards the films imported for their brief Festival screenings.

The Censorship Board, it should be added, has always co-operated in the speedy processing of films imported for the Festivals. We realise they are carrying out the present law on film censorship as they see it. We maintain this is a bad law, one which should be changed.

– Dianne M. Shaw
– Hon. Secretary, The Committee, Sydney Film Festival
– Letters to the editor
– The Bulletin via Trove

Censored footage

Shane Harrison reports from ‘Chipp’s reel’ viewing.
See database entry for THE BABYSITTER (1969) for background.
01:59 cut from very discrete nude love scenes that take place in the sand.

Post-November 1971 rating

In March 2010, Umbrella Entertainment received an M (Mature themes, sexual violence and nudity) rating for a 141-minute DVD.

Crimson Pirate

aka Mikura No-Oichi Makko Na Nagaredori (Film Censorship Board title)

Directed by Sadatsugu Matsuda / 1969 / Japan / IMDb

October 1970 / Rated: A / Length: 7894 feet / Time: 87:43 / Censored by 00:26 / Reason: violence