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Discussion in 'Movies' started by John_Berger, Jul 6, 2003.
Govt's are stupid...thats all I have to say about that...
I guess this thread my be closed soon... but I just have to say, DAMN!
It takes four people to press a play button?
maybe it was a cunning ploy to outwit the authorities. give 4 people a remote, ask them all to press paly at the same time, but only 1 remote has batteries in it, thus no one knows who really pressed play!
a quick note: you can go to jail for exhibiting the movie, not watching. Four people presumably confessed in a Spartacus ploy.
if you listen to Triple-J FM (an affiliation of Australian Broadcasting Corp), this matter is being discussed around the clock. Quite interesting, really.
oh, Triple-J can be heard through the internet.
If they used an HTPC, they could have disabled the Auto Insert Notification on the computer and ask someone from the other side of the world to remotely press the "Play" button.
David, what led you to tune into Triple J?
I listen to Triple J all day at work and the subject is getting to annoying stage.
> If they are charged with illegally screening the banned film, they face a maximum sentence of a year in prison.
What about a lawsuit from the studio? Or were they licensed for public showing of the DVD.
I remember starting a thread about Ken Park a couple months ago. Somehow I knew the latest from Larry Clark would be nothing but trouble lol
I understand that the film has explicit content, but so long as none of it is illegal (they probably used young, but not under 18 years old, actors for the sex scenes) then who cares? Shame on you Australian Government.
BTW, they also banned Grand Theft Auto 3 for PS2 when it came out after it had been on shelves for a few days. An authentic Australian copy of the game is an extremely rare thing.
I believe all the actors were over 18, so the banning is rather surprising. I'm no fan of Larry Clark (I'm in the camp that thinks of him as a dirty old man with a camera), but the banning of Ken park is worrisome.
I liked Bully, but I don't disagree with the feeling that as a director he also seems to have a dirty old man agenda.
It's very tough to decide what is morally right when defending a guy who celebrates (apparently) the implied depiction of underage sex on film.
Somewhere is a moral boundry that must be established and kept, but where is always the tricky part. I believe in lots of artistic freedom, but then I also believe in a moral artistic responsibility as well.
IMO, many less responsible people hide behind the protection put in place for the responsible ones, intentionally using the gray area as their own exploitive playground. It's aggrevating as hell to me because frankly I think regular artists already have it tough enough without a guy taunting "the man" from behind them.
[lurking in the crowd and yelling]
"Oh yeah, what are you gonna due about it."
Altough I think Larry Clark is kinda over doing his quest to prove how today's youth is doomed, i'm 100% against this banning. This film should fall under artistic freedom. I don't see why they can't slap an 'adult's only' classification on this film, and let it rest.
If anybody is interested in it's rather fitting movie poster they used at the Official Venice and Toronto Film Festival, here is the link: http://www.tiffanylimos.com/pages/910050/index.htm
IMHO, Ken Park is Larry Clark's best film after Kids. I think all of his films are pretty good (even Teenage Caveman has it's moments), and this one's no exception. I feel sorry for the Aussies who will have to miss out on this.
Thanks to the current ban, more Australians will probably end up seeing KEN PARK than if the censors had just left it alone. I think the OFLC (the Office of Film and Literature Classification, our local censors here in Australia) couldn't have performed a more counter-productive action in relation to this movie if they'd tried, and I'm amazed at how clueless they evidently are in regards to the current activities of local film and DVD viewers.
The police intervention at the Balmain screening has provided KEN PARK with saturation coverage across every TV news channel, newspaper and radio show in the country. (I've seen a listing on another web site that tallied the number of KEN PARK articles in local papers here just over the past few days, and there are dozens of them). Given the widespread discussion, a movie that would have likely screened at just a few upscale arthouse cinemas in the capital cities has now been brought to the attention of MANY more folk than otherwise would have found out about it. Simultaneously, a lot of film fans in country Victoria and NSW (or regional Tasmania, central Australia and so on) have no easy access to the handful of arthouse cinemas located in capital cities on the East Coast, and frequently miss out on movies that screen exclusively in those theatres. Many of these film fans make up for this relative isolation by investing in multi-region DVD players (very affordable and commonplace here) and importing discs from overseas. This sort of importation is widespread and, to encourage it further, mainstream comic shops in the middle of Sydney and Melbourne have entire walls devoted to thousands of Region 1 foreign, cult, horror and exploitation titles. (To name a few relevant to the issue of censorship - SALO, THE NEW YORK RIPPER, EMANUELLE IN AMERICA from Blue Underground and others are all ostensibly banned in Australia but are freely available in local import shops on DVD). Minotaur Books (the largest importer in Melbourne) has been importing titles like these - along with mainstream releases of every description - since 1997 and currently makes most of their substantial income from Region 1 releases. British and US discs sell from these stores in the high hundreds each week and OFLC scrutiny is entirely absent. When KEN PARK does get an eventual Region 1 or 2 release, copies will fly out the door thanks to the OFLC's high-profile, ham-fisted ban, and more folks will probably end up with a personal copy of the movie than if the OFLC had simply allowed the film to play at a few local festivals, and perhaps requested that the eventual DVD be rental only, with publicity to be kept low-key.
It's worth elaborating briefly on what a 'ban' of this sort means for local DVD importers. Horror and exploitation fans in the UK (I'm not tarring KEN PARK with the tag of exploitation as I haven't seen it, but it's relevant to what's being discussed here) apparently had to put up in the past with regular customs scrutiny of imported packages, and some high-profile UK shops specialising in US discs were raided a couple of years back under - I think - F.A.C.T copyright legislation (UK members of this board can correct me if I'm wrong). An Australian ban of KEN PARK could conceivably work if local customs had the inclination to enforce the issue (presumably to the extent that I'm told similar bans have been enforced in the UK). Ordering packages from overseas through the local mail did previously entail a random customs examination once every year or so, with the occasional 'this package has been checked by customs' sticker and a two day delay before you actually received it. Nowadays, inspection of imported parcels is less common for the amusing reason that the OFLC now charges customs for every tape or DVD they get sent to watch, (a result of Prime Minister John Howard's penny-pinching). One government department now charges another for the privilege of doing their actual job. Given that customs are also now working on a restricted budget (care of Howard's cuts), you can see how the idea of sending each and every new tape or disc to the OFLC for appraisal eventually lost its appeal, and - given this freedom - personal importation of material 'contentious' to the OFLC was allowed to flourish.
Australia never really had a 'video nasty' scare similar to the one the UK suffered through in the 80's, so barring a few low-key jitters now and then there's never really been any votes for local politicians in being tough on horror movies. KEN PARK however plays up to contemporary taboos (even if the performers in the movie are all above legal age), is easy to use for a quick tabloid scare campaign, and makes a perfect high-profile target. If Howard and his cronies really gave a shit about the potential impact of this sort of material on home viewers, and the proliferation of imported titles free from any sort of OFLC scrutiny, they'd shut down the local importers and maintain the sort of consistent customs scrutiny that UK fans have been treated to. But they don't, and they won't. The idea is simply to be SEEN to be doing something, and the KEN PARK ban is a hollow gesture designed to appease their elderly, conservative consituents, whilst barely following up on eventually implementing the ban at retail level where it should theoretically count. It's clever (if cynical) politics, good preparation for next year's election, and why should anyone care if a few personal liberties get trampled on in the process? That's why KEN PARK will be 'banned' from theatrical exhibition and festivals but freely allowed to be sold through local importers once it gets a release through any overseas region (Region 1 or otherwise) and the OFLC-created publicity will make it one of the best-selling import titles in years when it finally appears.
I guess it's worth noting that censorship in Australia will continue to be fairly harsh as long as hardline conservative Howard remains Prime Minister, and/or continues to wield influence over the make-up of the board and their decisions. I actually applied for an OFLC job recently, (one was advertised and I've filled out the appropriate forms) but not because I hold out any great thoughts of passing controversial arthouse movies, or explicit horror and exploitation titles. Rather, I like the idea of earning nearly $100,000 Australian annually to review movies (more than half of them porn) and then get extensive counselling, free chocolates, a 'cool down' room with videogames to destress and long afternoons off to counter the horrible, desensitising effect of watching all those violent and explicit titles. Irrespective of the artistic quality (or otherwise) of KEN PARK, it's amusing to me that Howard's politically driven yet off-the-cuff decisions about films that are 'taboo' (and consequently deserving of a ban) has created a culture of belief about the 'harmful' nature of these movies in the offices of the OFLC, whilst regular film fans in their thousands across the rest of the country will eventually (thanks to the tidal wave of publicity) choose to watch the movie of their own volition and - my guess - walk away from the experience unharmed.
I've notice that thanks to the media attention lots of Aussies on usenet groups are now curious about this film and are asking about how to download this film off the net. I guess they can't wait for the dvd.