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SA's 'Lolita' banned at Durban festival

2013-07-24 08:51
Durban International Film Festival

Johannesburg - A sex scene between a schoolteacher and a pupil has led to the opening movie at this year's Durban International Film Festival being banned, organisers said on Tuesday.

The decision to block the showing of the South African film Of Good Report, has been met with outrage.

Censors objected to a scene "which constitutes child pornography and we are unable to legally show the film," a spokesman quoted festival director Peter Machen as saying.

Out of respect for film director Jahmil Qubeka, organisers did not screen a replacement film at the festival, showing instead the censorship message of the Film and Publications Board.

The movie's plot revolves around a small-town school where a predatory teacher attracted to young girls targets a 16-year-old student, played by a 23-year-old actress.

Extreme moralism in banning art

"It presents a story of a very real and troubling social problem of rampant abuse of position in our country," said Machen.

Sex between older men and young girls is a major cause of HIV in South Africa, which has the world's largest population living with Aids - over five million.

South Africa's age of consent is 16 but the country's publication laws only allow the portrayal of sex from 18 years upwards.

The ban drew a wide response in a country mindful of the white-minority government's extreme moralism in banning art.

Some organisations cautioned filmmakers to refrain from portraying violence and abuse towards children while others called on authorities to be less moralistic in the application of the law.

Radio stations buzzed with analysts and commentators arguing for and against the decision.

Cartoonist Zapiro, meanwhile, slammed the censors as "mindless zombies". publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

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