Unbanned film to hit cinemas

2013-07-29 00:00

WHAT was all the fuss about? That was the feeling of many audience members at the first screening in Durban yesterday of the controversial movie Of Good Report, after it was unbanned on Saturday.

The appeal committee of the Film and Publication Board (FPB) overturned the ruling that the film by South African filmmaker Jamil X.T. Qubeka contains “child pornography”, and it is now rated 16SNVL.

The film’s producer, Michael Auret, launched the appeal, which was heard in Midrand on Saturday. The film can be viewed from this week as it goes on general commercial release on Friday.

Qubeka was in high spirits yesterday as he addressed the audience after the screening at the Durban International Film Festival (Diff), saying “the reason to make a film is for it to be seen”, and he was happy his work could now be enjoyed.

Earlier he called on the FPB’s acting chief operating officer, Sipho Risiba, and spokesperson, Prince Ndamase, to resign, tweeting, “You brothers are not fit for office”.

FPB CEO Yoliswa Makhasi made a statement at the weekend, defending the FPB after the ruling. She said although the board had lost the appeal, they were right to refuse to classify the film.

“We are very disappointed and saddened that the refused classification of the film Of Good Report has been set aside. We shall, however, await the reasons, study them and decide on a way forward.”

On Saturday, Steven Budlender, appearing for Of Good Report’s lawyers, argued that the film is not child pornography as defined by the Constitutional Court, which says it must be intended to stimulate sexual arousal in the target audience. He questioned whether it is intended to stimulate aesthetic or erotic feelings.

The scene in question involves sex between a sugar-daddy teacher and a 16-year-old pupil, Nolitha, played by an older actress. It does not feature nudity.

Diff manager Peter Machen said after the screening that the board did not understand the rights of ordinary South Africans in a democratic South Africa, nor did they see as important the rights of viewers to choose what they could view.

The feeling from the audience was that this year’s Diff was badly organised, with some saying that the banning fiasco could have been avoided had the films been sent to the FPB earlier in the year.

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