Film Censorship: J


 

 

 

 

Jack the Ripper

Directed by Jess Franco / 1976 / Switzerland - West Germany / IMDb

In November 1977, JACK THE RIPPER lost 56.2-meters (02:02) of footage from a 2507.10-meter (91:23) print to achieve an R-rating. The cuts were made to remove 'excessive violence'.

Blake Films was the applicant.

 

In 2002, there was a very limited DVD release in Australia on a label called Front Row Features. This disc was an import of a cheap Canadian DVD that contained a censored version of the film. It was not rated by the OFLC. Thanks to Konrad for the cover scan.

 

In July 2004, a DVD of JACK THE RIPPER was submitted to the OFLC. This was the first time they had screened the film since 1977. The applicant, Big Sky Video received an R18+ (High level violence, Sexual violence) rating. The uncut disc was released in September 2004.

 

 

Jess Franco and the Australian censors

Over the years, the following Jess Franco films have had problems with the Australia censors. All are covered in our Film Censorship Database.

 

Jack the Ripper - Front Row Features [au] DVDJack the Ripper - Big Sky Video [au] DVD


 

 

 

 

Jihad or Terrorism

Produced by Sheikh Khalid Yasin

In December 2005, JIHAD OR TERRORISM was passed with a PG (mild themes) rating by the Classification Board. This was confirmed by the Classification Review Board in July 2006.

JIHAD OR TERRORISM was classified alongside eight books, following a raid on the Islamic Bookstore in Lakemba.

For full details of this case, see our database entry for DEFENCE OF THE MUSLIM LANDS.

 

 

Jihad or Terrorism: Classification Review Board Report

Jihad or Terrorism
Review Board Report

Australian Government
Classification Review Board
19, 20, 23 June 2006 and 3, 5 July 2006
23-33 MARY STREET
SURRY HILLS, NSW

MEMBERS:
Ms Maureen Shelley (Convenor)
The Hon Trevor Griffin (Deputy Convenor)
Mr Rob Shilkin
Mrs Kathryn Smith
Mrs Gillian Groom
Ms Ann Stark
Mr Anthony Hetrih

APPLICANT:
Commonwealth Attorney General, the Hon Philip Ruddock MP, not represented.

INTERESTED PARTIES:
NSW Council for Civil Liberties.

BUSINESS:
To review the Classification Board’s decision to classify the film Jihad or Terrorism ‘PG (Parental Guidance)’ with the consumer advice ‘Mild themes’.

DECISION AND REASONS FOR DECISION

1. Decision

The Classification Review Board (the Review Board) in a unanimous decision classified the film Jihad or Terrorism ‘PG’ (Parental Guidance) with the consumer advice ‘Mild themes’.

 

2. Legislative provisions

The Classification (Publications, Film and Computer Games) Act 1995 (the Act) governs the classification of films and the review of classification decisions. Section 9 of the Act provides that films are to be classified in accordance with the National Classification Code (the Code) and the classification guidelines. Relevantly, the Code in paragraph 6 of the Table under the heading ‘Films’ provides that:

Films (except RC films, X 18+ films, R 18+ films, MA 15+ films and M films) that cannot be recommended for viewing by persons who are under 15 without the guidance of their parents or guardians are to be classified ‘PG’. The Code also sets out various principles to which classification decisions should give effect, as far as possible. Section 11 of the Classification Act requires that the matters to be taken into account in making a decision on classification include:

(a) the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults; and

(b) the literary, artistic or educational merit (if any) of the publication or film; and

(c) the general character of the publication or film, including whether it is of a medical, legal or scientific character; and

(d) the persons or class of persons to or amongst whom it is published or is intended or likely to be published.

 

Three essential principles underlie the 2005 Guidelines for the Classification of Films and Computer Games, determined under s.12 of the Act:

1. The importance of context;

2. Assessing impact; and

3. The six classifiable elements – themes, violence, sex, language, drug use and nudity.

 

3. Procedure

The Review Board convened on 19 and 20 June 2006 in response an application dated 5 June 2006 from the Attorney General, the Hon Philip Ruddock MP (the Applicant). The original application for classification of the film was lodged by the Australian Federal Police on 15 December 2005 (application reference T05/7147). The Classification Board classified the film as PG (Parental Guidance) on 23 December 2005.

Seven members of the Review Board viewed the film, received oral and written submissions from Mr Drew Kovacs representing the New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties. At its meeting on 19 June 2006 the Review Board determined it was not able to reach a decision without obtaining translations of those parts of the film that were in languages other than English.

The Review Board reconvened on 3 July 2006 and considered the translations provided by the Community Relations Commission. The Review Board convened again via teleconference on 5 July 2006 to consider the substance of the application and, after careful consideration of all of the issues, determined that the film be classified ‘PG’ with the consumer advice ‘Mild themes’.

 

4. Evidence and other material taken into account

In reaching its decision the Review Board had regard to the following:

(i) The Attorney General’s application for review;

(ii) The NSW Council of Civil Liberties’ written and oral submissions;

(iii) The film Jihad or Terrorism (T05/7147);

(iv) The relevant provisions in the Act;

(v) The relevant provisions in the Code, as amended in accordance with s.6 of the Act;

(vi) Translations of the Arabic portions (both written and oral) of the film;

(vii) The Classification Board’s report; and

(viii) The 2005 Guidelines for the Classification of Films and Computer Games.

 

5 Synopsis

This film is a recording of a lecture presentation given by Sheikh Khalid Yasin entitled Jihad or Terrorism. The lecture is ostensibly presented as an academic discussion of the nature of Jihad and an explanation of how it differs from acts of terrorism.

It is a filmed lecture of 92 minutes that is comprised of primarily of a single camera shot of Sheikh Kalid Yasin delivering the lecture. Sheikh Yasin refers to what he describes as historical terrorism including the African slave trade and the Spanish invasion of South America.

 

6 Findings on material questions of fact

Classifiable elements of sex, drug use, violence, coarse language, nudity and themes

The Review Board found that the film contains aspects or scenes of importance, under various classifiable elements:

In regard to the elements of sex, drug use or nudity there are no descriptions or depictions of these elements. The use of coarse language is infrequent and mild. However, there is some exploration of the theme of terrorism and of violence. The theme of terrorism has a low sense of threat or menace and is within the context of a lecture. The lecturer refers to violence such as suicide bombing, genocide, slavery.

These references are verbal only and mild in impact. The lecture also includes Sheikh Yasin’s views on the behaviour and obligations of modern Muslims. Some of the “facts” he presents may be questionable but this is not relevant to the assessment of the video's impact.

The presentation was non-confronting, as Sheikh Yasin states that the matter is a “provocative subject but [he is] not delivering [it] in provocative manner”. He discusses the idea presented in the media that jihad and terrorism are synonymous. His discussion of this is not done in a manner that incites. The lecture starts with a conciliatory statement.

Sheikh Yasin explains “Jihad” from a Muslim perspective in terms of protecting the honour of Islam against a criminal or intruder or someone who has no respect for others. He states that Islam requires a submission to being peaceful, surrendering to the law/system.

Overall the presentation of the lecture is low in impact and there is only a mild sense of threat or menace notwithstanding some references to deaths in Afghanistan and Vietnam.

Promotion, incitement or instruction in matters of crime or violence The video does not in any way promote, incite or instruct in matters of crime. Sheikh Yasin explicitly states that suicide bombing is not justified by Islam and that Muslims in non-Muslim countries are not permitted, under Islam, to attack the Governments or societies in which they live.

 

7 Reasons for the decision

The Review Board considered the class of persons to whom it is intended or likely to be published as required under the section 11 of the Act. The Review Board determined that the video is unlikely to have a broad or wide audience.

Further, the Review Board considered the submission by the NSW Council for Civil Liberties that “while the material may be politically and socially controversial, as it does not present a threat to Australian society, it ultimately serves an educational purpose”. Whilst not determining that the material was educational, the Review Board did accept that this video would not “present a threat”.

The Guidelines state that material classified PG "may contain material which some children may find confusing...it is not recommended for viewing...by persons under 15 without guidance from parents or guardians".

In light of the impact of the classifiable elements stated above, while viewers may not agree with the Sheikh's interpretation or his views, they are expressed in a nonmenacing manner and can be accommodated within the PG classification. In light of the descriptive title of the film, the appropriate consumer advice is “Mild themes”

 

8 Summary

It is a video that is mild in impact and describes what Islam is about and how Islam is a world view. It does not justify terrorism. The Classification Review Board in a unanimous decision classified the film Jihad or Terrorism ‘PG’ (Parental Guidance) with the consumer advice ‘Mild themes’.

 

Jihad or Terrorism - Sheikh Khalid Yasin - DVD


 

 

 

 

Josephine Mutzenbacher

aka Josefine Mutzenbacher

Directed by Kurt Nachmann / 1971 / Austria-West Germany / IMDb

In April 1972, an 8150-feet (90:33) print of JOSEPHINE MUTZENBACHER was banned because of 'indecency'.

Consolidated Exhibitors were the applicant.


 

 

 

 

Journal of Love

Directed by Anthony Spinelli / 1971 / USA / IMDb

In March 1981, a 638.50-meter (58:11) 16mm print of JOURNAL OF LOVE was banned because of sex, which was said to be:
Frequency: Infrequent
Explicitness/Intensity: High
Purpose: Gratuitous

A 581.41-meter (52:59) 'reconstructed version' was passed with an R-rating in June 1981. The sex was now described as being:
Frequency: Frequent
Explicitness/Intensity: Medium
Purpose: Gratuitous

In both cases, 14th Mandolin was the applicant.


 

 

 

 

The Joy of Letting Go

Directed by John Gregory / 1976 / USA / IMDb

In March 1978, a 2104.70-meter (76:43) print of THE JOY OF LETTING GO was banned because of 'indecency'. It was finally passed with an R-rating in July 1978, but only after the 1755.00-meter (63:58) 'reconstructed version' lost a further 12.50-meters (00:27). These cuts were again made to remove 'indecency'.

Blake Films was the applicant.

 

In August 1982, a 37m video of THE JOY OF LETTING GO was banned because of sex. This was said to be:
Frequency: Infrequent
Explicitness/Intensity: High
Purpose: Gratuitous

International Video Pty Ltd was the applicant. This may have been an import tape from the UK as a version of around this length was released on the pre-cert Dapon label.

 

 

In May 1984, Blake Films had an 81m tape passed with the newly introduced X-rating. The sex was said to be:
Frequency: Frequent
Explicitness/Intensity: High
Purpose: Gratuitous

The uncut version was released on tape in 1984 by Mature Media Group / Caballero Home Video.

Image courtesy of moviemem.com

 

The Joy of Letting Go (1976) - Blake Films[au] Daybill


 

 

 

 

Jungle Warriors

Directed by Ernst R. von Theumer / 1984 / West Germany - Mexico / IMDb

Palace Home Video had JUNGLE WARRIORS Refused Classification in January 1985. The 91m tape was banned due to 'Gratuitous Sexual Violence'. An appeal to the Review Board in April 1985 saw it passed with an X-rating.

The X-rating had only been introduced in February 1984. There was a brief period where it was considered not just for sex films, but also for material that was too extreme for R18+. During this time violence could exist in the X18+ category, and films such as CALIGULA, PINK FLAMINGOS, and ROSEMARY'S KILLER were awarded this rating. Despite pro-censorship groups trying to claim otherwise, the guidelines were soon tightened up to remove violence.

An X-rated JUNGLE WARRIORS would have been of little use to Palace, so it is probably safe to say that it was never released.

 

In October 1985 Roadshow Home Video censored JUNGLE WARRIORS down from 91 to 90m, and had it passed with an R-rating. This was awarded for:
Violence
Frequency: Frequent
Explicitness/Intensity: Medium
Purpose: Gratuitous

The actual running time of the Roadshow Home Video release was 90:27. A couple of scenes did look to be censored, but both need to be confirmed. These are:

 

Scene 1: DECAPITATION

Before - The guard swings the machete

POSSIBLE CENSORSHIP AT 42:48 - Looks like a decapitation is missing.

After - The girl at the table screams

 

Scene 2: WOMEN IN PRISON

The girls are chained-up, interrogated, and abused, by the men. The film was originally banned due to 'Gratuitous Sexual Violence', so this scene looks to be the most likely spot for censorship.

 

Jungle Warriors -  Roadshow Home Video [au] VHS


 

 

 

 

Justine and Juliette

Directed by Mac Ahlberg / 1975 / Sweden / IMDb

In January 1976, a 2482.00-meter (90:28) print of JUSTINE AND JULIETTE was banned because of 'indecency'. A 1947.53-meter (70:59) 'soft version' was passed with an R-rating in October 1976.

In both cases, 20th Century Fox were the applicant.

Image courtesy of moviemem.com

 

Justine and Juliette (1975) -20th Century Fox [au] Daybill


 

 

 

 

Justine de Sade

Directed by Claude Pierson / 1972 / France - Italy - Canada / IMDb

In January 1977, a 2767.70-meter (100:53) print of JUSTINE DE SADE was banned because of 'indecency and indecent violence'. A 2276.69-meter (82:59) 'reconstructed version' was passed with an R-rating in April 1977.

In both cases, Pan American Productions were the applicant.

 

Video Classics released JUSTINE DE SADE on tape in the early 80s with a running time of 80:03. This was presumably the same as the censored cinema print.

 

In October 1986, the Queensland Police had an 83m tape passed with an R-rating. It was awarded for sex, which was found to be:
Frequency: Frequent
Explicitness/Intensity: Medium
Purpose: Gratuitous

 

 

Force Video DVD release

In November 2003, a 104:18 DVD of JUSTINE DE SADE was passed by the OFLC with an R18+ (Strong sexual violence, Adult themes) rating. The disc was released by Force Video.

The running time of 104:18 (PAL) was the same as the 2002 UK disc from Oracle Home Entertainment. According to DVD Compare, this version was missing three scenes in comparison to the 115:03 (NTSC) Blue Underground disc.

 

Justine de Sade (1972) - Video Classics [au] VHSJustine de Sade (1972) - Force Video [au] DVD


 

 

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