FamilyVoice Australia have again petitioned the Federal Court to ban Pier Paolo Pasolini's Salo, Or The 120 Days Of Sodom again. They are claiming that its release last year on DVD was an improper exercise of power by the Classification Review
The Christian activists led by the Not So Liberal senator Julian McGauran, have got Salo banned in Australia for most of the last 36 years.
Salo follows a group of young men and women abducted by fascists and subjected to rape,
torture and death in an Italian palace. Described by the board as a serious study of corruption which accompanies the exercise of absolute power , the film was released last year in a boxed set with additional documentary features that the
board thought would mitigate the level of potential community offence .
But this did not impress Senator McGauran and FamilyVoice Australia. They moved against the film again, this time in the courts.
The barrister Anthony Tudehope
accused the board of a long list of failings when judging the film, in particular the failure to separately identify and assess elements of violence, cruelty and fetishes - even bestiality, though Salo contains no congress with animals.
questioned the age of the victims and the actors playing them. Along with a minority of the Classification Review Board, he argued they are children being subjected to child sexual abuse, which was simply not acceptable , he told the court.
But that was not the view of a majority of the board, which found Pasolini's victims clearly sexually mature and that their fate at the hands of the fascists would not offend reasonable adults given the context, purpose and stylised, detached
cinematic techniques of the film.
The board's solicitor, Nick Gouliaditis, denied any failures of process in Salo's release. He told the court that assessing the merits of a film required highly subjective judgments which the
Classification Review Board has been entrusted to make .
Justice Margaret Stone has reserved her decision for a later date.