Sunday, April 10, 2005

Which other country legislate a ban on political films?

Pop Quiz : What are the top three search results on google when you type 'ban political film'?

Answer : Articles on Singapore's ban on political films. The other top search results on 'ban political film' reveal a pretty even contest between Singapore's ban on political films and the controversy surrounding Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9-11 (which enjoyed a successful commercial run in Singapore cinemas last year).

Another illuminating result is the review of Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf's The Silence and The Door which were screened at the SIFF in 2000. It contains an account of how Iran bans political films...

The Silence and The Door, two films by Mohsen Makhmalbaf by Richard Phillips, 27 April 2000

To fully appreciate Iranian films it is necessary to have some understanding of the difficult conditions in which they have been produced. In Iran virtually every aspect of film production and distribution is under government control and has been for most of the industry's history. The first decrees outlawing political films were issued in 1950 and under Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, who came to power in a CIA-organised military coup in 1953, films critical of the regime or those with explicit references to poverty and the disadvantaged were censored or banned outright.

Following the overthrow of the Shah in 1979, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's Islamic regime tightened censorship and imposed strict religious control over film content. Islamic fanatics torched many cinemas, 2,000 films were cut or banned outright and some filmmakers were indicted on charges of “corrupting the public”.

Under current law, films cannot directly criticise the government or make political exposures of social conditions. Men and women cannot touch each other in movies unless married or related and women must observe Islamic dress codes...

What is a 'party political film?'


the virgin undergrad said...

Hi there martyn,

I read about your plight with great indignance and sympathy. to me, it was a classic case of bureaucratic cowardice, and i dun even think your film made it to the MHA, it was probably the SBFC that was reluctant to pass your film. i started an online campaign hoping to give a public outcry to this travesty upon the promotion of local arts. it's a photo thingy, u can see it in my blog entry. at

keep the faith, persist in your career and i believe i will watch many of your future masterpieces one day!


Wen Ping said...

Please place the film online so that I can have a chance to see it.

Anonymous said...

This will show the world that Sing is not that free and democratic after all.

We will have to wait for the day!