Ban on 'Sex.Violence.FamilyValues' lifted, movie given R21 rating

Local film director Ken Kwek speaking at a press conference last year with regard to his debut film, "Sex.Violence.FamilyValues", that was initially banned in October. (AFP file photo)

Following a drawn-out appeal by its producers, local film Sex.Violence.FamilyValues has been given the green light to screen locally, but with an R21 classification.

In a statement released by the Media Development Authority (MDA)’s Films Appeal Committee (FAC) on Friday, the film was voted in favour of screening under an R21 (for viewing by adults aged 21 and up), accompanied by edits.

Four of the seven-member committee voted that the film be shown with edits, while the other three felt it was clear to be shown without, with the FAC saying that it “took account of the public complaints” that arose from a trailer making racial references in ‘Porn Masala’, one of the three segments in the show.

“In the case of Sex.Violence.FamilyValues, the FAC is of the view that while it does not condone or promote racism, some of the racial references employed in the film are indeed offensive to the Indian community,” the statement said.

“Therefore the film may be exhibited under a R21 classification if these offensive references are removed.”

Speaking to Yahoo! Singapore over the phone on Friday, film director Ken Kwek said that late last year, he and the producers had clarified what they meant in the references that the panel had initially taken issue with when they banned the film last October.

In November, Kwek and his team submitted a 500-page appeal calling for the ban to be lifted, and to reinstate the film’s originally-decided-upon M18 classification, after which he and producer Tay Eu-Yen made oral representations to the FAC.

He also noted the distinction between the term “edits” and “cuts”, saying that the FAC clarified it to mean that beeps and mutes would be permitted instead of complete visual cuts of particular scenes.

Kwek added that his team is considering various audio manipulations to serve as edits to the sections considered controversial, but that he likely will still screen the film, as its initial distributor, Cathay, “is still interested” to show it.

“I’m glad the ban has been lifted,” he said.

“That the film is now R21 rather than M18 is not great. That the committee wants edits to the film is not ideal — it wouldn’t be for any serious filmmaker. But these options are better than an outright ban. Between being poked in the eye and kicked in the groin, I'll take being poked in the eye!”

Film producer Tay added that the team was “encouraged” by the FAC’s green light.

“Even though the FAC did not reinstate the film’s original M18 rating, it's clear from its decision that Singapore is serious about supporting the arts industries. For that alone, we are grateful.”

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Director to appeal against Singapore film ban
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