Singapore bans four films from fest


CANNES -- Singapore government censors have pulled four films from the 21st Singapore International Film Festival, saying themes involving terrorism, sado-masochism and homosexuality fell beyond the country’s film classification guidelines.

The 21st SIFF opened in Singapore on April 4 and runs to April 14.

Amy Chua, Chairman of the Media Development Authority’s Board of Film Censors, said Sunday that two of the films, "Arabs and Terrorism" and "David of Tolhidan," were axed because of their "sympathetic portrayal of organizations deemed terrorist organizations by many countries."

"Films which portray terrorist organizations in a positive light by lending support and voice to justify their cause through violence are disallowed under the Film Classification Guidelines," Chua said.

A third film, "A Jihad for Love," was refused permission to air "in view of the sensitive nature of the subject that features Muslim homosexuals in various countries and their struggle to reconcile religion and their lifestyle," Chua said.

The fourth title pulled off the list of 200 films that SIFF organizers submitted for classification was "Bakushi," a documentary about the practice of "rope tying" in Japan.

Chua said the documentary contained "several prolonged and explicit sado-masochistic sequences, demonstrating how the rope masters tie up nude women and subject them to various degrees of physical abuse and sexual degradation, for erotic gratification. The theme normalizes unnatural fetishes and behavior which is disallowed under the Film Classification Guidelines."