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Conservative
activists try to block Australian release of Mysterious Skin

Conservative
activists try to block Australian release of Mysterious Skin

One of the year's most acclaimed films is queer director Gregg Araki's adaptation of Scott Heim's Mysterious Skin, but the pedophilia story line is causing some Australian activists to call for a ban of the film before it opens there in August. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the film, which has already received a strict R18+ rating, has had an application filed against it that would ban it from theatrical release. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Brady Corbet play two teenagers who were molested as children by their baseball coach. The Morning Herald reports that federal attorney general Philip Ruddock is pursuing the film's reclassification after being contacted by South Australian attorney general Michael Atkinson, who, it is believed, has been lobbied by right-wing activist groups the Australian Family Association and the Festival of Light. AFA spokesman Richard Egan said, "Being able to get hold legally of a DVD where they can play the scene over and over again, showing the adult baseball coach fellating an 8-year-old boy...could prove very helpful to some pedophiles." Margaret Pomeranz, president of the lobby group Watch on Censorship, disagrees. "This is a film about the damage that pedophilia creates. It's been so carefully filmed, the impact is on the audience.... Pedophiles could watch this film and be stricken by remorse. It could be a pedophile-curing film because they're confronted by the damage they do." Australia's Office of Film and Literature Classification, in giving Mysterious Skin the R18+ rating, described the film as "a serious and legitimate exploration of a disturbing and confronting theme. The film takes the victims' viewpoint and presents the dark and bleak nature of the abuse to which they are subjected and the resulting impact on their lives."

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