Australia's Film Board of Review has overturned the recent decision by the Office of Film and Literature Classification not to classify Catherine Breillat's French film Romance, a judgement that meant the film could not be released in Australia.

The decision will be a great relief to local film critics and concerned filmgoers who have been leading a lively media debate on the issue.

Some observers have called for urgent reforms and greater transparency in the process of rating films. They regard procedures as increasingly confused and the climate as overly conservative, particularly as the general philosophy behind the Classification Act is that adults should be able to make their own decisions about what to see, read or hear.

The last big film to be banned in Australia was Pier Paolo Pasolini's Salo. This occurred in 1998 after an appeal by the Queensland Government against its original R18+ rating.