Friday, 31 October 2008

Moral Policing: A Sequel

Imagine that: there are moral police even in the much-hyped land of the free, United State of America.

zack and Miri's poster
Kevin Smith’s sentimental comedy “Zack and Miri make a porno” did not make the cut in the state of Utah, with “graphic nudity and graphic sex” being cited as the main concerns for the banning.

A title like that would surely court trouble elsewhere too even if the movie is not an outright pornographic or blue movie.

Remember Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone’s “Basic Instinct” (1992)? I saw that one in the United Kingdom and my, my, did it have some graphic sex scenes.

Ditto with Madonna’s “Body of Evidence” (1993) where she shared some hot candle moments (amongst others) with Willem Dafoe.

Based on the titles alone, Stone and Madonna show of skin (and more) would have passed through to the viewers should the Moral Police not view the whole movie themselves.

Truthfully, I was also once a MP myself.

It was during my secondary school days where the student body organizes on a regular basis free movie shows at the college’s lecture with yours truly one of the so-called censor board member.

This particular movie (the title has long since slipped my mind) featured Vampires in a spaceship setting, but since it was a sci-fi cum horror offering, we let it pass without any pre-viewing.

I think the particular scene that spelt the death of the free movie idea was somewhere in third quarter of the movie when, at first, there were shadows of a nude woman.

To my utter shock and horror, the shadow then shimmered into one in the form of a voluptious vampire, who started to “do” the male crew member before absorbing his essence or something.

It wasn’t an outright sex scene, but more of a foreplay kind of thing.

The next thing the hundreds of unblinking students (male and female) knew, there was a rush to the projector, the light came on and that was the end of the movie.

Our feeble excuse that the title didn’t hint of any nudity or sex didn't get us any respite.

Movie titles matters.

Malay movies such as Sofea Jane’s “Perempuan, Isteri dan …” and Aleeza Kassim’s “Panas” hinted of a certain amount of raunchiness to their storylines; never mind that these would still be confined to that allowable in our local scenes.

The lovely Sofea Jane
I watched “Perempuan, Isteri and …” as well as Nasir Bilal Khan’s “Amok” to see just how far the local artists could stretch the R-Rated stuffs, and both made do with innuendos without resorting to being too graphic with its sexual contents.

Local moviemakers have been managing to stretch this boundary further with the new offerings especially in Ahmad Idham’s “Remp-It” which showed ample plain skin and “foreplay”ing without getting into much trouble.

Reading the “Zack and Miri make a porno” banning made me realized that those who make up censor ship board (or its equivalent) are really doing a thankless job.

To do their job, and do it well enough within the context of moral policing, they have to literally watch everything as the title might not provide any dead give away of it including graphic nudity and sex scenes.

Unless, of course, it is stated outright in the movie’s synopsis, that is.

Continuing to watch would then just be plain opportunistic.

PS: With thanks to all the wonderful producers whose works I am featuring in this posting.


Muhammad Azli Shukri said...

perlukah dalam menyampaikan moraliti maka yang tidak bersifat moral itu perlu didedahkan?

My Raison D'etre said...


Thank you for the pertinent comment. Was thinking of the same thing even as I wrote some of my postings.

I am trying my level best to achieve a fine balance between what should and what should not, but admittedly there is still some ways to go.

Again, thank you.


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