Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Kids Are Not All Right

I think enough is enough. Last I checked, does MDA actually have within its authority to dictate how many prints can a film open in cinemas here? Shouldn't this be purely a business decision by distributors and cinema operators on a simple profit maximization theorem? And thank goodness this film has critical acclaim and some big time award nominations under its belt, since my guess is its postponement was to see if it had a push from the Globes and Oscar.

I think the list of movie related gaffes coming out of here is just pure embarrassing. From Austin Powers having to Shiok rather than Fuck Shag, a decision which ridiculed us and made us a laughing stock so much so that Austin Powers got his mojo back, to now this, I fear when I next travel overseas to festivals that people I meet will associate these laughable issues with me, thinking I'm from a land of such prudes, or are of the opinion that my government is actually into the film exhibition business to decide upon such matters, when they have the economy, affordable housing, and population issues to keep them busy. Not to mention an election too.

I mean, if I find Van Gogh offensive, do I protest at the banning of all Van Gogh exhibitions in Singapore? Of course not silly, that doesn't make sense. What do I do? I vote with my wallet and not pay to enter any exhibition or venue. At all. I steer clear. But that doesn't mean I impose my will on others who enjoy his artwork, and are willing to pay to enter an exhibition showcasing his works. The powers that be fail to understand this, that as consumers, we vote with our wallet. If we dislike something, don't buy/eat/drink/consume it, period. But that doesn't mean having the right to deprive others the right to do so, if they so choose to. Basic laws of economics state that if there's no demand, there's no supply, and if the vast majority of people (as you claim) object to these films, then there will be no market for it, which means distributors, as profit making enterprises, will decide whether it's viable to bring certain genres in, or not, or decide to do something charitable for a niche.

It's classic Caveat Emptor really for anyone buying a ticket to know what the rating is beforehand. If you're offended by bloody gore, Read the advisory (we can't be held responsible if our society fails to comprehend advisories) which will clearly state the Rating, and a brief justification of what the buyer is in for. I certainly look stupid, and clearly my ignorant fault, if I buy a ticket for Hostel, rated R21, thinking it's a family comedy about living overseas in cramped quarters while on hoiiday, only to piss in my pants at the gratuitously violent torture scenes. Can I sue the cinema operator, the distributor, or MDA (heaven forbid!) for not warning me? Can I make noise about why such films are shown in the cinemas and MDA not banning it?

With a series of such missteps, I always opined that our city state is more tolerant on violent matters than on sexual ones. Take for instance the Saw Movies (and this is but the tip of the iceberg of examples). Bloody gory entertainment, legion of fans, R21 uncut as well. Do we have a sudden turn of events where our murder rates go spiraling, and our boys in blue having to engage in a cat and mouse game with hundreds of serial killers with moral issues on the loose, all inspired by what they've seen on film? Get real. And the thing is, the same will probably apply here, that we won't see an increase in the number of lesbians in our country, but at the rate we import foreigners, it's anyone's guess how many will slip through our stringent border checks.

On one hand we have ambitious plans for ScreenSingapore, and I wonder what our event ambassadors have to say about this, if they'll tell us to stuff our event up our rears if we impose the same draconian regulations on them (failing which it means we're practicing double standards, tsk).

Draw the line on snuff, or pornography, or because of some Act we have here, party political films too. But let's leave commercial decisions to commercial companies, and not nanny too much - you do know that the Internet bypasses your nanny lock do you? - that it stifles. It's already hot and humid in sunny Singapore, so please give us all some space to breathe.

P.S. I suppose this also means the creation of a new rating in Singapore which will henceforth be known as R21-1 (Restricted, 21 Years and Above Only, 1 Print)

Sorry Love, Big Bro's Frowning


Mr. G said...

Completely agree. For some reason they seem to think Singaporeans are a bunch of easily influenced kids and they have to protect us from, but they forget the Internet.

I was super annoyed when they cut the lesbian scene in Black Swan too. So I just looked for the uncensored copy , as did most people!

Wonder if they cut any scenes in this one?

Stefan S said...

Hi Indian Stallion, nope, nothing was cut from this movie in its sole print in Singapore

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