Sanitized insanity - Page 2

Cleanflix doc tells a surprisingly twisty tale of Mormon "scrubbing"

A video store owner clutches a pile of films scrubbed free of sinful content

The industry begged to differ, eventually winning court victories that shut down most (if not all) of the independent "content filtering" businesses. We hear from directors like Steven Soderbergh and Neil LaBute (the latter an ex Mormon), who bristle at the hubris behind "changing something that doesn't belong to you," saying that it's naive at best to think in taking a few bricks out of an artistic house you won't cause the whole structure to collapse. Then of course there's the worry that such tampering "cultivates a tolerance for censorship" and uses legitimizes "a shamefulness toward sexuality," no matter what the artist's original intention might have been.

Ye olden American hypocrisy in matters of sex vs. violence — so opposite the attitudes flaunted by our socialistic European brethren — is glimpsed in "cleansed" movies like 1996's Fargo that many patrons find permissible with all its extreme bloodletting intact (remember that wood chipper?), but one mention of the word "penis" tastefully excised. The mind reels at some successfully censored cinema noted here, like 1999's The Matrix with all its umpteen non-graphic killings removed, or even sacrosanct Schindler's List (1993) minus any concentration camp details unsuitable for the entire family.

Some movies, however, resist all taming. Ray Lines admits there was no point trying to scrub up 1990's seemingly harmless Pretty Woman (whose Cinderella is a streetwalker). As for 2005's Brokeback Mountain, well ... "We didn't do that one on principle," a CleanFlicks editor says. Just as the monkey at the typewriter will sooner or later write Hamlet, so in the infinite diversity of human experience, once in a great while homophobia is going to be good news for homosexuals.



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