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Tuesday, 12 June, 2001, 09:38 GMT 10:38 UK
Erotic film pulled after 'censorship'
Peter Sarsgaard and Molly Parker
Erotic genre for Peter Sarsgaard and Molly Parker
The production company behind the Blair Witch Project has withdrawn its new erotic film from a US cinema which censored it.

Artisan Entertainment pulled The Centre of the World from a Cincinnati theatre after discovering the print had been edited.

The film, starring Peter Sarsgaard and Molly Parker, chronicles a weekend in Las Vegas of a millionaire and a stripper as they enter a non-committal affair.

Artisan spokesman Paul Pflug said: "Artisan cannot and will not condone exhibitors who make their own decisions to alter our product.

Wayne Wang
Director Wayne Wang did not want censors to touch his film
"If they book an Artisan picture, we expect them to play it in its entirety."

Director Wayne Wang took the decision to leave the film unrated so as to escape censorship from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

Wang, who directed The Joy Luck Club and Anywhere But Here said: "I wanted to make an honest movie without being bothered by people telling me what I couldn't do."

But staff at the Esquire Theater edited out five seconds from a scene where a stripper performs an obscene act.

'Bad judgement'

Gary Goldman, who runs the Theater Management Corp that owns the Esquire, said the film was cut for fear of a community backlash.

"I found this act to be both degrading to women and most likely violative of community standards," he said.

"Obviously, I exercised bad judgement and should have chosen instead not to play the film."

He insisted this is the first time a film has been edited in this way.

Artisan discovered the unauthorised editing after a filmgoer reported the scene was missing.

The studio sent a representative to view it and immediately pulled the print.


The Esquire is one of the few cinemas in Cincinnati that will show unrated films.

The MPAA classifies its films up to an NC-R rating, meaning no one under the age of 17 can watch.

Cincinnati, where TV presenter Jerry Springer is a former mayor, has long fought to stem pornography in the city.

Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt has been a target for anti-porn activists since the 1970s.

In 1990 a grand jury indicted the Contemporary Arts Center and its director in on charges of pandering obscenity with a Robert Mapplethorpe exhibit of erotic photographs.

The museum and the director were acquitted.

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