The Sydney Underground Film Festival
17 -20th September 2015
The Factory Theatre in Marrickville, Sydney
After a recent change to Australian film censorship law, festival organisers have been speaking of an improved process making it a bit easier to schedule censor baiting material. Festival organisers are now allowed to self-assess as to whether yet to be censored movies are permissible.
Events such as the Sydney Underground Film Festival’s co-director Stefan Popescu welcomed the new classification exemptions for festivals and special events:
I think it’s far more intelligent to give festivals greater responsibility in assessing the suitability of content for their exhibition, he says. It is good to see that the [Classification Board] is moving towards a less controlling and fearful position in their policies concerning content for media.
The festival opens on Thursday with a screening of French film Love, which has been described as a 3D pornographic movie. Popescu says the film, which premiered at this year’s Cannes film festival, challenges the way sexuality is addressed in Australia.
I think we should relax the censorship laws and generally relax our conservative attitudes towards sexuality, he says. I personally don’t understand why people are so uptight about something that forms the basis of human existence, yet we celebrate and support violence and warmongering publicly.
This year’s festival was programmed before the new censorship rules were enacted and Popescu speaks of films creating issues for the censors. The Australian censors were concerned in particular about two scenes from a Finnish comedy-horror movie, Bunny The Killer Thing. One of the scenes had a woman being bashed unconscious and then sexually assaulted, but the censors did not required cuts. Popescu commented:
I chose Bunny The Killer Thing , because I love ridiculous gore films, there is some sort of sick pleasure in it for me
But even Popescu said he was shocked by the documentary Dolphin Love:
I just find it one of the more confronting films, because this guy really believes he had a loving relationship with a dolphin, he says. I just don’t know how I feel about that because firstly it’s real and secondly there is no way to assess whether the dolphin consents.
The festival will close with Eli Roth’s Knock Knock, an erotic horror film featuring Keanu Reeves.