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Sex addiction film too hot for Singapore

23 April 2012
Writer/Director Steve McQueen arrives at "Shame" Gala Screening in 2011
Writer/Director Steve McQueen arrives at "Shame" Gala Screening in 2011 in Hollywood, California. The acclaimed film on sex addiction will not be shown in Singapore after censors ordered a threesome between the main character and two women to be shortened, its local distributor said Monday

An acclaimed film on sex addiction will not be shown in Singapore after censors ordered a threesome between the main character and two women to be shortened, its local distributor said Monday.

"Shame" by British director Steve McQueen was submitted to censors of the Media Development Authority (MDA), who rated it suitable only for viewers 21 and above on condition the scene was edited.

"They did not request for the entire scene to be cut, just that they felt the scene was too long," said a spokeswoman for distributor Cathay-Keris Films.

"Mr McQueen feels that it is important for his work to be seen in the way it was intended and hence was... not agreeable to have his film be cut in any way," she told AFP.

"We respect his decision and as such this film will not be able to be released in Singapore theatrically."

"Shame" was nominated for "Outstanding British Film" in the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) awards held in February.

Lead actor Michael Fassbender was nominated for best actor in both the BAFTAs and the Golden Globes for his portrayal of protagonist Brandon Sullivan.

The MDA had no comment when contacted by AFP but in remarks to the Straits Times newspaper, the agency said: "We are of the view that the prolonged and explicit threesome sex sequence has exceeded our classification guidelines."

Alex Au, a Singaporean social critic, assailed the MDA.

"If the MDA thinks that a three-way sex scene is too 'prolonged and explicit', what does that actually mean?" he wrote on his blog.

"We boast of being 'first-world' and speak of striving to be 'world-class' in this and that, while quietly engaging in third-world autocratic methods as if there is no contradiction."

Singapore has strict guidelines governing explicit content in media and still bans publications such as Playboy magazine.

Film ratings have been relaxed in recent years but they are still based on principles including "generally accepted social mores", "national interest" and "racial/religious harmony," according to the MDA Board of Film Censors website.

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