July 21, 2010
Apparently, here in Australia, the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) would like us all to become mindless (and let’s not forget conservative) zombie cinefails who consume a strict diet of placid and flaccid visuals at this year’s Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF), irregardless of the crippling stomach pains and nausea that will undoubtedly ensue. We owe this cultural impotence to one Donald McDonald (whom I can only presume is brother or cousin to famous global corporate, Ronald), Director of the OFLC, who has ruled that Canadian Bruce La Bruce’s newest feature L.A. Zombie (2010), which had two planned screenings at the festival, cannot be screened, “as it would in his opinion be refused classification” (Paul Kalina, The Age Online, 21.07.10).
You can view the trailer here:
This ruling has been awarded and made public not two days before the festival gets under way, and in fact, just one day before opening night celebrations. But beyond the outrage and affront that film fans and critics across the city are no doubt feeling this morning (myself included) the decision seems completely baffling and, what’s more, an absolute embarrassment. In the official MIFF festival program, under Admission Conditions, it clearly states, “The Classification Board has granted MIFF special customs and censorship clearances. Except where indicated, it is forbidden to allow anyone under 18 (including infants) to attend sessions.” (MIFF festival program, page 7.) So, according to the OFLC and MIFF, no one under the legal age of 18 could possibly see the film in question, already giving it an R rating of sorts. Furthermore, according to the OFLC, the film festival is considered to be a “special” event thus requiring “special customs and censorship clearances”. Presumably this is due to film festivals attracting, for the most part, critics, cinephiles and cine-literate audiences who a) are able to decide for themselves what content is suitable for their own personal viewing and b) who wish to sample some of the most diverse and challenging modes of cinema from around the world. Yet McDonald’s decision to ban L.A. Zombie seems to tear these very principles apart, ironically, with the same mindless ferocity one can only imagine (as we sure as hell aren’t going to be allowed to see it) a zombie corpse doing to its prey.
Finally, as if it even needed defending, the good people at MIFF have had the presence of mind to provide a disclaimer and warning, in bold no less; “Contains scenes that will offend“; just in case you’re a somewhat delicate flower who hopes to watch nothing but rainbows and sunshine at this year’s festival and you somehow stumbled across the section entitled Night Shift yet were still unaware that this might be where confronting cult cinema resides.
So just in case there was any doubt in anyone’s minds that Australia was a back water two-bit hicksville mass of land full of bigots and tories, the OFLC have kindly stepped up to ensure everyone that we are. Thanks very much Mr McDonald, you’ve certainly done your bit to make sure this great country is considered, far and wide, completely culturally bankrupt. You cunt.