Film Folly

July 26, 2013

As to the evil which results from a censorship, it is impossible to measure it, for it is impossible to tell where it ends.
Jeremy Bentham

zapiro
I have written elsewhere about the idiotic antics of the South African Film and Publications Board. On that occasion they had seen fit to place an 18 year age restriction on a painting that was neither a film nor a publication; this time they have effectively banned a film as ‘child pornography’ when it depicts no children, and is evidently not pornography by any accepted definition of the term.

The film in question is “Of Good Report.” It is said to be (I haven’t seen it–that would be illegal–so I must take the producer’s word for it) a serious drama focussing on the phenomenon of ‘sugar-daddyism’. The film opens with a high school teacher meeting a young woman in a bar. He is attracted to her, but the next day she walks into his classroom as one of his students, which, needless to say, complicates matters. The actress who plays the part of the young woman is 23 years old, and the character she portrays is 16. the age of consent in South Africa is 16, so any sex between them in the film is sex between consenting adults.
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Art Raises its Head

May 24, 2012

If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him.
John F. Kennedy

A week or two ago I wrote about my “blind spot” with reference to the visual arts in general and, in particular, The Scream by Edvard Munch. Now a very different painting has been dominating the news, not because of the absurd price it commanded,–it sold for a modest $16,000–but because it depicted the President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, with his penis hanging out of his trousers.

The Spear would probably not have been in the news at all were the South African government not as ignorant of the Streisand effect as they are of constitutional law, philosophy, civics, economics, geography, democracy and science. They brought suit in the High Court seeking an injunction against the painting being displayed in the Goodman Gallery, or on the website of a newspaper, the City Press. Their grounds are that the painting is disrespectful and impairs the President’s constitutional right to dignity. The case will be heard today, but the outcome is moot because the image is now hosted on thousands of websites worldwide. Oh, hell, let’s make it one more:–

The Spear


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