[CleanFlicks] claims it should have the legal right to do so because it purchases one copy of a DVD for every edited movie it produces, and includes the original version with the new version when mailing packages to customers. David Schachter, attorney for CleanFlicks of Colorado, said yesterday that his client was unlikely to seek a stay on the injunction, but that it did not preclude others from choosing to do so. A posting on Family Flix’s website reported that the company had decided to close its doors after five years as a result of the ruling. The company would routinely edit content for homosexuality, "perversion" and cohabitation – its version of "Brokeback Mountain" must have been a sight to see.
And the inevitable little dig at the end, you saucy UK press corps, you! Sigh. We had skimmed over this story as it developed before, but had no real conception of how wacky this business model is â€” as if purchasing a copy of the film each time would placate lawsuit-happy and copyright hypersensitive Hollywood on either economic or artistic grounds.
Over at the LA Times, Henry Weinstein writes that Cyrus Kar, the Iranian-born American who was arrested in Baghdad for suspected terrorist activities while attempting to film a documentary about Cyrus the Great and held without being charged for almost two months, is suing Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and "other high-ranking military officials…alleging that his detention violated his civil rights, the law of nations and the Geneva Convention."
Mark D. Rosenbaum, legal director of the ACLU of Southern California, said the suit is the first civil action challenging the constitutionality of the U.S. government’s detention and hearing policies in Iraq.
Dennis Lim at the New York Times describes how Amir Muhammad‘s "The Last Communist," a "semi-musical documentary road movie" about Chin Peng, the one-time leader of the Malayan Communist Party , became "the first Malaysian film to be banned at home."
On May 5 the Home Affairs Ministry, which oversees the censorship board, retracted its approval, citing public protest. The ban set off a flood of media commentary, much of it questioning the ministry’s decision. After a screening was held for Malaysian members of Parliament, the home minister, Radzi Sheikh Ahmad, said the real problem was that the absence of violence in the documentary could create the misconception that Chin Peng was not himself violent. "It will be like allowing a film portraying Osama bin Laden as a humble and charitable man to be screened in the United States," Mr. Radzi told a local newspaper.
Mr. Amir said, "I think this is the first time a film has been banned for not being violent enough."
Amir has a blog here. Also, Malaysia is infamously arbitrary in banning films â€” as Lim notes in the article, "Daredevil" was banned because the government was concerned that the country’s youth would idolize a character with a Satanic moniker.
And at the Independent, Geoffrey Macnab has an interesting piece on how Tennessee Williams‘ work has only once been satisfyingly adapted for the screen, partially because his stories were often neutered to please Hollywood’s (self)-censors.
There are many instances in which Hollywood simply cut out elements in his plays that seemed too risquÃ©. Most notoriously, Richard Brooks‘ 1958 adaptation of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" somehow contrived to overlook the central fact of its hero’s homosexuality. Brooks’ later film of Williams’ "Sweet Bird of Youth" (1962) was almost equally evasive, sparing the audience the horror of its hero’s castration. Instead, Paul Newman‘s handsome gigolo, Chance, has his face ripped open by Boss Finley’s son and his thugs. ("Just gonna take away lover boy’s meal ticket," says Rip Torn, as he begins to disfigure Newman.)
+ The filth stays in the picture, judge rules (Guardian)
+ Filmmaker Sues U.S. Over Iraq Detention (LA Times)
+ Your Film Is Banned. There’s Not Enough Violence. (NY Times)
+ A Streetcar Named Desire: Too hot to handle (Independent)