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rare female film critic | by maryann johanson

question of the day: What film would you ban, and why?

The Independent runs down the list of films that have been banned around the world for such reasons as extreme violence, religious blasphemy, explicit sex, and other outrageousness. They’re all the usual suspects you’ve probably heard about before as controversial: A Clockwork Orange, Monty Python’s Life of Brian, Caligula, and so on. I’m not sure what prompted yet another iteration of this list — perhaps all the hullabaloo that Lars von Trier’s Antichrist is causing; the Times of London even asked last month whether the film should be banned. (The film is currently in theaters in the U.K.; it arrives in the U.S. on October 23.)
But it got me thinking: Movies have been banned for reasons that accommodate some very narrow modes of thinking. Why should some sensitivities be coddled but not others? I mean, if Life of Brian could be banned for being anti-God by people who don’t like their deity being scoffed at, then why shouldn’t the Left Behind series get banned for being anti-humanist? Maybe we freethinkers and humanist should fight to ban any movie that uses the words “God” or “Jesus Christ” in any way other than a blasphemous one.

I don’t really mean that, of course: the idea that freethinkers and humanists would work together to censor anything is pretty much antithetical to being a freethinker or a humanist. But it doesn’t mean we can’t have fun with the topic.

Put aside issues of politics, humanism, freedom of speech, and such, and just enjoy your mad, crazy power. What film would you ban, and why?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)



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