Russian Ministry of Culture accused the Rotterdam winning film of being child pornography.
The team behind award winning Serbian feature Clip have reacted with dismay to the news last week that the film has been banned in Russia.
A representative of the Russian Ministry of Culture publicly accused Clip of being child pornography, violating both Russian and international law.
Maja Milos’s movie, a Tiger award winner in Rotterdam earlier this year and now due to screen in Toronto and San Sebastian, had already provoked controversy because of its graphic depiction of teenage sex. However, director Milos has made it clear that she used body doubles and prostheses. Critics and festival programmers have applauded the film, which has sold briskly since its Rotterdam debut.
The film’s sales agent, Paris-based WIDE Management, issued a release containing the letter from the Ministry of Culture to the film’s Russian distributor, Maywin.
“The Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation has considered an application by LLC “Cinema Without Frontiers” for a distribution certificate for the motion picture “Clip” by the Serbian director Maja Milos and notifies you as follows. The film contains the scenes of swearing, drug use and alcohol consumption as well as scenes of a pornographic nature. According to the storyline these scenes feature underage teenagers and thus violate the norms established by the Federal Law of December 29,2010 № 436-FZ on “The Protection of children from information which is harmful to their health and development.”
Clip’s producers, Belgrade-based Baš Čelik Production House, refute angrily the charge that the movie is in any way pornographic.
“The intention of the authors, scriptwriters, their cooperatives including producers as well as of the actors and their families’ intention was to make a film conveying a strong message about the severe problems of modern youth generations, even beyond borders of ‘transitional countries’ including Serbia,” the producers declared in a statement. “The one and only purpose of certain scenes in the film is NOT to “propagate” any kind of pornography but ON THE CONTRARY - to STRONGLY OUTLINE AND CRITICIZE violent and deviant influence of modern ‘commercial culture’ of a society affected by crisis.”
The producers also pointed out that the film has not encountered censorship problems elsewhere and has already won multiple awards on the Festival circuit.
Clip has already been sold to the US (Artsploitation), France (KMBO), Japan (Fine Film), South Korea (Thanks and Love), Sweden (Njuta), Poland (Tongariro), Republic Czech and Slovakia (Artcam) and Bulgaria (M.A Media).
Director Milos has now issued her own statement. “The problems that young people in Eastern Europe are growing up with are severe,” she declared last week. “They are surrounded by great social turbulence and violence, and Clip is a film that is very honestly speaking about that. I’m sure that not showing the reality won’t protect any young person because the grave problems are still all around them. Clip is a film that raises questions and can provoke discussions on what can we do to understand and help today’s youth.”