Film News

Singapore censor bans 4 films at film fest: report

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore’s censors have banned four documentary films from a movie festival for portrayals of terrorism, depicting gay Muslims, and excessive scenes of sado-masochism, a newspaper reported on Saturday. Two movies “Arabs And Terrorism” and “David The Tolhildan,” were “disallowed on account of their sympathetic portrayal of organizations deemed terrorist organizations by many countries,” Amy Chua, chairman of the Board of Film Censors, told the pro-government Straits Times.

“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,” said Chua.

The four films were among 200 submitted for classification by organizers of the Singapore International Film Festival, which started on Friday and ends April 14. organizers were told of the ban on Thursday, the Straits Times said.

The event website describes the 135-minute “Arabs And Terrorism” as a series of interviews with academics, U.S. policymakers and Middle Eastern political factions and their conflicting views of terrorism.

“David The Tolhildan” depicts the life of Swiss national David Rouiller who leaves home to join the militant Kurdish Workers’ Party, while “In A Jihad For Love” includes interviews with gays and lesbians in Muslim communities.

Bakushi, the fourth film that was banned, is a documentary on the practice of kinbaku, a Japanese form of sexual bondage which involves tying up women in elaborate rope patterns.

Singapore has tried to shed its conservative image and woo more visitors by introducing casinos and night-time Formula One racing, but continues to be criticized by rights groups for its restrictions on expression and the media.

Its government in January banned a group of foreigners from taking part in a choir that had planned to sing a list of complaints about life in the city-state.

Reporting by Daryl Loo