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No cuts for sex-addiction film

Drama Shame will be shown in limited screening for Singapore Film Society members only. -ST
John Lui, Film Correspondent

Sat, Jan 19, 2013
The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - A movie that was pulled from cinemas last year because its director refused to cut a sex scene will now be shown uncut but in limited screenings.

Shame, a drama about sex addiction starring Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan, will be exhibited by the Singapore Film Society on Saturday and Feb 3.

The screenings, however, will be limited to members of the film society.

The Media Development Authority's Board Of Film Censors has given the uncut version of Shame a rating of R21, meaning only those aged 21 or older may attend.

Last year, distribution company Cathay-Keris Films submitted the film to the authority in the hopes of exhibiting the film in mainstream cinemas.

The distributor was told that the film would get an R21 rating, on condition that a scene involving group sex was edited. Director Steven McQueen refused, and the film was withdrawn from the market.

Shame is a character study of Brandon (Fassbender), a man driven to pursue sex as a means of avoiding his own issues. Fassbender was nominated in the Best Leading Actor category in the Golden Globes and in the Baftas.

A Media Development Authority spokesmantold Life! that the uncut version had been passed this time because of the special circumstances of the screening.

"For film festivals, we do allow some leeway during classification as they attract a niche audience for their limited screenings and the primary purpose of such events is to promote film appreciation," says the spokesman in an e-mail.

This is not the first time the authority has rated films that would have required editing if screened commercially.

Wariazone, a documentary about transgendered people in Indonesia, was given an R21 rating and screened at the Singapore Indie Doc Fest last year.

The society screening, however, does not alter the authority's conditions for screenings of Shame in mainstream cinemas.

"There is no change in the rating for Shame for commercial release, due to the prolonged and explicit sex sequence that has exceeded the film classification guidelines," says the MDA spokesman.

Mr David Lee, vice-chairman of the film society, says Shame will be shown as part of its SFS Talkies festival because "the society is about the appreciation of arthouse film, especially films that cannot find commercial distribution or cannot be screened in Singapore. Shame is a perfect fit".

The Talkies festival showcases recently released independent films from around the world.

While only society members may attend the screenings, memberships can be purchased 30 minutes before the screening or online.

Book it


Where: Cathay Cineleisure Orchard, Hall 8, Level 4, 8 Grange Road (Saturday), The Screening Room, The Arts House, 1 Old Parliament Lane (Feb 3)

When: 1 pm (Saturday), 3pm (Feb 3)

Admission: Free for Singapore Film Society members

Info: Memberships are available at the door 30 minutes before the screening or online at An annual membership costs $90

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