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DAMNED IN THE U.S.A.

UK, 1991 (MIFF 1992, Documentaries)

Director: Paul Yule

This ambitious British documentary takes an unusual and refined look at the most recent and controversial cases of censorship in the United States. A number of senators are seen on their crusade against 'state financed' pornography and blasphemy, among them the notorious Jesse Helms.

Paul Yule's motivation to make the docu­mentary is the recent developments in censor­ship in the USA, where Christian fundamentalists have successfully lobbied to have works of 'obscene art' removed from public exhibits. At the centre of this controver­sy are photographs by the recently deceased Robert Mapplethorpe, works of Andres Serra­no ('Piss Christ), as well as rap songs by 2 Live Crew and Madonna's video 'Like A Prayer1.

Featured in the film is the Reverend Don Wildmon, head of the American Family Asso­ciation, which has subsequently demanded from the filmmakers $5 million punitive dam­ages. Wildmon has claimed that any American release requires his contractual approval. Yule believes that Wildmon merely wants to hold up screenings of the film because of the graph­ic images it contains. But with the threat of liti­gation, screenings of the film have been cancelled, as has a scheduled screening on American public television. Ironically, this examination of censorship is itself being cen­sored.

Making a welcomed appearance in the film is stand-up comedian Jimmy Tingle, who light­ens the tone with his hilarious yet insightful sketch that illuminates the double-standards and contradictions of the current controversy.

See also...

BLACK HARVEST

Australia, 1992
... ... Robin Anderson and Bob Connolly's earlier films First Contact and Joe Leahy's Neigh­bours brought the world the first concerted post-colonial analysis of Australia's dismal record in the … More »

BLACK MAN'S HOUSES

Australia, 1992
... ... Avoiding didacticism, this film raises some f of the most current concerns facing the i resurgence of Aboriginal culture in Australia today. Underpinning the film, which has its world premier… More »

BLAST ‘EM

Canada, 1992
... ... Paparazzo-photographer Victor Malafronte's philosophy is simple: "I don't have any sympathy for a guy who's making $20-30 mil­lion a year." Chasing Madonna, ambushing Michael J. Fox, scre… More »

A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME

UK, 1991
... ... From Errol Morris, the director of the daz­zling The Thin Blue Line, comes this won­drous and wonder-filled joumey into the life and work of Professor Stephen Hawking, the world-famou… More »

BROTHER'S KEEPER

USA, 1991
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