“Yesterday’s confirmation of the R18+ rating for the DVD of Salo – Pasolini’s film revelling in teen torture and sex abuse – hits a new low in Australian classification decisions,” FamilyVoice national policy officer Richard Egan said today.
FamilyVoice Australia was the only community group to make a submission and personally present a case to the Classification Review Board that the ban – first applied in Australia in 1994 – should remain.
“Salo appears to clearly breach the classification guidelines, which say that films must be refused classification if they contain:
descriptions or depictions of child sexual abuse or any other exploitative or offensive descriptions or depictions involving a person who is, or appears to be, a child under 18 years;
gratuitous, exploitative or offensive depictions of: …
cruelty or real violence which are very detailed or which have a high impact;
sexual violence,” Richard Egan said.
“The young captives in Salo who were sexually abused, raped, tortured and forced to eat excrement were portrayed as being under the age of 18. One of the actors was only 17 when the film was made.”
The Classification Review Board decision to overturn the ban, like the Classification Board decision last month, was not unanimous. Both boards claimed that the new Salo DVD’s inclusion of additional material explaining the film’s background would mitigate the impact on the viewer.
“This claim doesn’t make sense,” Richard Egan said. “Even Salo supporters concede that additional material on a DVD usually goes unwatched – so it would not affect the extreme impact on the viewer of certain scenes in the film.”
The Review Board suggested that the consumer advice on the film – that it contains “scenes of torture and degradation, sexual violence and nudity” – would prevent viewers from seeing the DVD if they are likely to be offended by it.
“Offensiveness is not the issue,” Richard Egan said. “This consumer advice could act as an inducement to paedophiles or others who take pleasure in viewing the extreme degradation of others. Yesterday’s Review Board ruling has set a very dangerous precedent.”
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