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Classification Review Board bans Ken Park



Transcript of meeting of the Classification Review Board (CRB), 6 June 2003.

Procedural Protocol:
As per usual practice, anonymity of the participants is preserved by the use of code names in place of real names. Real names of participants will be shown in the official CRB report but comments will not be ascribed to any one member.

A - a member of the CRB
B - a member of the CRB
C - a member of the CRB
P - film projectionist
S - stenographer
L - legal counsel

A: Meeting is hereby re-convened, 1330 hours. Agenda is review of the decision of the Classification Board to refuse classification to the film Ken Park. Only those members of the Review Board here present may vote on this matter. I presume we have all read the written application for review and the supporting written submission from the applicant. We also heard the verbal submission on behalf of the applicant this morning. Now I understand that there are only a few contentious scenes in the film so I suggest we fast forward through the tame bits. All in agreement?

B: No.

C: We're supposed to consider context.

A: The Board found there was insufficient artistic merit in this film. How about we look at the juicy bits first and then consider context if we have time.

B: I'm not comfortable with that.

C: It's a bit unusual, but I suppose we can try it.

A: P, roll please, fast forward.

[film commences]

C: Wait up!

A: What?

C: I saw pink bits there.

A: Couldn't be. There's no pink till minute 54. P, slow rollback please. ..... Stop, hold it there. Was that what you meant C?

C: Yes, but I see now it's only tongue on nipple.

A: How prolonged would that be in realtime, P?

P: 0.83 seconds, with 0.51 seconds of tongue contact.

A: Too brief I think.

B: But it's genital contact!

A: Nipples are genitals? I don't think so.

B: It's erectile tissue. Can we have a ruling please?

A: L, is it genital contact if the nipple is erect?

L: No, the genitals are below the waist.

C: My wife reckons they're connected by a nerve or something.

A: What are?

C: Nipples and genitals.

A: Well maybe, but we have to go by what's in the act.

C: The sex act?

A: No, the Classification Act. Let's move on. Fast roll to minute 54 please P.

C: What about context?

A: It's impact that counts. Roll please.

[film is rolled forward to 54m]

A: Stop! Roll back a few frames. See that everyone?

B: What is that fluid stuff?

C: Surely it couldn't be what I think it is.

A: Roll back then step-frame forward. We need precision here.

B: Semen, I think.

A: Replay please. More slowly this time ..... Freeze there!

B: Definitely semen.

C: Could be spit.

B: But it came from his penis!

C: You don't know that. The pot plant got in the way.

B: Why would he spit there?

C: Maybe he didn't think much of the tennis on the TV.

A: OK, decision on that scene please.

B: Is semen allowed on film?

A: Only in X, and only then in short spurts.

B: So it's an X film then?

A: No, because there's fetish!

B: What fetish?

A: He's got a belt or something tied round his neck.

B: I thought fetish was spanking and rubber.

A: Read the Guidelines, B. A fetish is an object or action that gives sexual gratification.

C: Like bonking?

A: What?

C: Bonking gives sexual gratification. Well mostly anyway.

A: No, it's got to be an object or an action.

C: Bonking is an action.

A: Well OK, but we all know what a fetish is.

B: I thought fetish meant spanking.

A: Not just that. Any sex that's not normal really.

B: Who's to say what's normal?

A: Normal is just plain sex. No funny business with feathers and vibrators and such.

B: Who decided that?

A: We all had a say in writing the Guidelines.

B: I didn't.

A: You must have been away. We were asked by the Minister to decide what the community standards ought reasonably be and that's what we decided.

B: You decided no feathers?

A: We didn't mention feathers. Just no fetish in X films.

B: You mean X films can only have plain sex?

A: Yes, B. You really should read the Guidelines before you come to these meetings.

B: The Guidelines are stupid! Who decides what's a fetish?

A: We do. Look, we're here to review the film, not the Guidelines. Let's move on. Do we agree that scene is the real thing, meaning actual sex?

C: But he's all alone!

A: Doesn't matter, masturbation is sexual activity.

B: But it's not the same as having sex.

A: Read the Guidelines.

C: What do we mean by "actual" in this scene?

A: There's semen so it's actual. If it's actual, it can't be accommodated in R.

C: Could be mayonnaise.

A: Why would he have mayonnaise there?

C: I read somewhere that they use it in porn films.

A: What for?

C: Because if they have to do a retake, and the guy's already ejaculated, they'd normally have to wait till the next day. So they use mayonnaise instead.

A: I don't think it's mayonnaise.

B: Could we ask the director?

A: Look, it's not that important.

B: I thought it was important to decide if it's actual sex or not.

A: OK, I suggest we move on. Maybe we can find some actual sex later in the film. The next sex scene is at 83 minutes. Roll forward please P.

[film is rolled forward to 83m]

A: OK, stop there, that's it. Look, three in the bed.

B: It's oral sex!

A: The girl seems to be fellating the first young man, while the second young man looks like he's penetrating her from the rear.

B: What's fellating?

A: Giving fellatio.

B: No one says that in real life.

A: What do they call it?

B: I call it going down.

A: Surely you don't really do that? Yuk!

B: It's quite normal you know.

A: I think it would be a fetish. The tongue is not a sex organ.

C: Look, now he's going down on her.

A: We have to call that cunnilingus.

B: Sounds so vulgar. If fellate is the verb of fellatio, what's the verb of cunnilingus?

A: We normally say performing cunnilingus. I don't think it has a verb of its own.

B: No one actually says that in real life.

A: Well we have to be clinical and dispassionate in our report.

B: But the scene is so romantic, with the soft light and the music and everything. Why do we have to make it sound like an anatomy lesson?

A: But there's another guy watching them! How can you call that romantic? Stop, I think I saw saliva!

B: What's wrong with saliva?

A: I think it was a saliva trail. Roll back and freeze frame please.

B: Saliva trail? What do you mean.

A: See, it looks like the saliva trail goes from her mouth to the tip of his penis. That means she must have licked him.

B: I thought we had to say fellate.

A: That's right. Anyway, we've got our proof. That constitutes actual sex so it can't be accommodated in R.

B: But we didn't see contact.

A: There must have been contact, there's a saliva trail. What do you think, C?

C: Well it's certainly not mayonnaise this time. I agree it must be saliva. But we didn't see contact.

A: There's implied contact, otherwise there'd be no saliva trail.

B: Do audiences watch it in freeze frame like this?

A: Not in the theatre, but they might if they had it on DVD or video.

C: Why are we getting all hung up on this saliva thing?

A: Because we have to find actual sexual activity, not simulated, so we can prove it can't be classified R.

C: Hey, did you see that? I think he put his finger up her vagina.

A: Well, we've certainly got proof of actual sex now.

C: How so?

A: Digital penetration. How long is that in real time, P?

P: 1.4 seconds.

A: That's prolonged enough.

B: Digital penetration? Sounds like something Senator Alston would say.

A: It means he put his finger in. A finger is a digit.

B: I still don't know why we have to use all these silly terms.

A: The Guidelines require objectivity and precise terminology.

B: The Guidelines suck.

A: I hope you don't say that to any of the public. We have to maintain credibility.

B: Well that sucks too.

A: What does?

B: Our credibility. The public thinks we're a bunch of old fuddy-duddy puritans, sitting here in the dark with our stopwatches and slow motion replays.

A: We can't be influenced by what the public thinks.

B: Well what are community standards then?

A: As defined in the Guidelines.

B: The Guidelines are stupid.

A: Look, we're not here to argue about the Guidelines. We're here to classify the film. Have we found real sex yet, or is it only simulated?

B: There was actual sex in Romance, and that got passed with an R rating.

A: We're not bound by previous decisions. It's not like a court you know. We have to apply the Guidelines as we see them. Have we found real sex yet?

C: Well we've had some mayonnaise, a bit of saliva, some implied oral sex, and a finger up a vagina. But we're on shaky ground as to whether any of that is actual sex.

A: Sheesh, what does it take to convince you lot? Maybe we can find child abuse.

C: Maybe this scene now where the father is trying to get into bed with the son.

B: The father looks drunk. He's being portrayed as a pathetic loser.

A: Doesn't matter. The boy is underage.

B: Under what age?

A: Under 18.

B: I thought child abuse had to be under 16. Age of consent is 16.

A: That's for RC. For X, under 18 is not allowed.

B: But I thought it couldn't be X because of the belt.

A: Technically you are right, but if use the term minor, people won't know the difference.

B: You mean we're going to call it child abuse even though it's not.

A: The boy is his father's child.

B: Yes, but he looks over 16 and he can certainly handle his pathetic father.

A: If we say sex involving minors, we're not lying.

B: But isn't a minor under 18?

A: So?

B: Well for child abuse it has to be under 16.

A: Look, we'll put out a press release, we'll toss in words like child abuse, minors etc. and there'll be enough confusion that no one will dare question it. After all, we're the experts.

B: We'll all look stupid.

A: We have to maintain community standards, B. If we imply child abuse, that will create enough hysteria to silence the critics.

C: I agree we'll look stupid. No other country has banned it.

A: They don't have our community standards. Time for a vote folks.

C: But the film has a strong message about the consequences of parental neglect. Isn't there merit in allowing adults to ponder that?

A: No, we have to apply the Guidelines. It can't be accommodated in R because of the finger and the saliva trail, or in X because of the fetish, so it has to be RC. And we'll further justify it by implying they're under age? Agreed?

B: Oh alright. But I still think the whole system stinks.

C: Sorry, I'm voting for an R rating.

A: Majority decison is for RC. Meeting closed.

B: I'm not happy.

C: Me neither. Why can't we just look at films as a whole, instead of this stupid clinical analysis of scenes out of context? And why do we have to be so obsessed with sex? Most adults have sex, so why do we think they'll be offended by seeing it in a film?

A: They don't expect to see explicit sex in a movie unless it's porn.

B: Who says so? Can't we just provide consumer advice and let them decide?

A: Oh, shutup you two. Meeting is over. Read the Guidelines before the next review.

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