The Dubai film censor has confirmed that Darren Aronofsky's latest movie Black Swan will not be shown in the emirate due to its subject matter.
Movies have to pass through the Censorship Department for approval, editing or banning before they are released in theatres, and Mohammad Naser, the cinema censor said: When we find that the amount of editing required takes a big part of the
movie, we conclude that there is no point in releasing it.
Naser added that Love and Other Drugs would also not be making it to cinemas: Both these movies have been banned because of excessive sexual content, he said, adding that in one of the two films the viewer would have been left with
25% of the film had it been released after editing.
Daniela Yordanova of 20th Century Fox for the Middle East said that both films will be released in other Middle Eastern markets such as Lebanon.
Black Swan has been passed 15 uncut by the BBFC noting: Contains strong sex, language and bloody images.
Love and Other Drugs has also been passed 15 uncut by the BBFC noting: Contains strong sex, sex references and language
Barbados' Film Censorship Board is taking another look at the award winning film, Black Swan , after initially banning it last week in a move that triggered an appeal by one cinema and sparked a petition by disappointed movie goers and
The Board will decide this week, after another screening, whether Barbadians will get to see the film in cinemas after all.
The Board instituted the ban deeming the film inappropriate for viewing because of offensive sexual behaviour. The movie features a scene depicting a lesbian encounter.
Barbados is just one of two countries that have banned Black Swan , the other being the United Arab Emirates. It has been rated R in most other countries.
After the ban was announced, the Olympus Theatres filed an appeal and the Film Censorship Board agreed to review the movie.
An online petition, Against the Affront to Freedom of Expression in Barbados by the Barbados Board of Film Censors , and a Facebook group entitled For Freedom of Thought and Expression in Barbados have been gaining momentum and had
reached 247 signatures and 459 members, respectively, by this morning.
The online petition makes several demands of the Film Censorship Board, including that it reverse its decision to restrict freedom of expression by banning the film ; understand the meanings and intent of MPAA film ratings (or the rating
from the films originating country), that is, to inform parents on the suitability of a film for viewing by children, and to protect artistic freedom; refrain from changing a films rating; and hold a limited screening of films to unbiased members
of the public and rely on their input before pronouncing a ban. The petition says
The Barbados Board of Film Censors chose to censor this film, without any discussion about its content with the public, and subsequently failing to publish adequately explained reasons behind its decision. We believe
that freedom of expression is a key pillar in a democratic society, and when leaders choose to censor material without consulting the public, particularly artistic material which may be of cultural significance, our whole society loses.
Indeed, in this case, it is patronizing that the board doesn't think that Barbadians can handle a film that has won such prestigious awards, and that people the world over are enjoying...Banning art sets a dangerous
precedent, which encourages those around the world who wish to restrict freedom of expression.
The 15-rated Black Swan received the most complaints from audiences in 2011. The film generated forty complaints and although this is a high number for the BBFC, compared to the 2.7 million people who saw the film in cinemas it is a
proportionately very small indeed.
The standout issue for most was a sex scene in which one female character performs cunnilingus on another. While the scene is visually discreet, narratively justified and within the 15 Guidelines criteria, some correspondents felt it was
pornographic in nature. That it was a sex scene between two women was an aggravating factor for some who argued that portrayals of homosexual activity should either be restricted to the 18 category , or not shown at all.
However, the BBFC in line with broad public opinion, applies the same standards to portrayals of sexual activity , regardless of sexual orientation.
The high number of complaints for Black Swan demonstrates the disconnect that sometimes occurs between a viewer's expectations of a film and its actual content. Some complainants had expected to see a film about ballet rather than the story of a
young woman's mental disintegration.
The BBFC suggested that perhaps such whingers should read the label before deciding to view. The BBFC Consumer Advice clearly warned that Black Swan contains strong sex, strong language and bloody images.