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Monday, 13 May, 2002, 08:24 GMT 09:24 UK
Australian cinemas fight film ban
A scene from Baise-Moi
Baise-Moi was temporarily withdrawn in France
Australian cinemas are to fight a government ban on the French film Baise-Moi.

The film, which has explicit scenes of violence and sex, has already been seen by thousands of cinema goers since being released in Sydney and Melbourne last month.


I don't like the idea of adults being told what they can see in cinemas

Bob Carr, Premier, New South Wales
But the country's Classification Review Board banned it on Friday after Attorney-General Daryl Williams completed a review of the film's "restricted-to-adults" rating.

The film was temporarily banned in France last year after three days of screening.

Popularity

Baise-Moi tells the story of two women who embark on a sex and killing spree after one of them is raped.

It was released in Australia on 24 April - and news of the Attorney General's decision to review its classification appeared to boost the film's popularity.

Still from Baise-Moi
Baise-Moi: Cut for UK release
The ratings review was completed on Friday, and the film banned.

Some cinemas complied with the ban immediately, while others waited until police notified them of the ban officially before stopping the screenings.

Though Australia's federal government is responsible for classifying films, the enforcement of bans is a state responsibility.

A spokesman for Melbourne's Lumiere cinema, which has been showing Baise-Moi since its release, said Monday's screenings had been cancelled - but the cinema would challenge the ban.

The Lumiere's director Paul Coulter said he had appealed to the Victoria state government to overrule the decision by the federal classification board.

"Some 12,500 Victorians have seen the film and there has been not one complaint made," said Mr Coulter.

Censorship

"Victorians have obviously voted with their feet, they are interested in seeing the film and we don't see why a faceless four people should be telling Victorians what they shouldn't and cannot go see," he added.

On Sunday, Bob Carr, premier of neighbouring state New South Wales, said he would seek legal advice as to whether the state was required to enforce a federal censorship ban.

"I don't like the idea of adults being told what they can see in cinemas," Mr Carr told reporters in Sydney.

In the UK, the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) insisted on a cut to the film before issuing it with an "18" certificate.

The film's author and co-director Virginie Despentes has described the film as having a "feminist warrior vision while also possessing a cutting edge sense of provocation".

See also:

05 Oct 99 | Entertainment
Romancing the censors
26 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Censors snip French shocker
19 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Whitehouse against censorship changes
14 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Censors relax film guidelines
22 May 00 | UK
Green light for porn films
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