Deep in the vaults of the Australian National Archives lie thousands upon thousands of celluloid scraps: scenes that were cut by government censors from films imported into the country between the years of 1958-1971. Peppered through this collection are banned scenes from some of the most influential directors in history, including Godard, Polanski, Bergman, Varda and Fellini. But censorship extended to hundreds of forgotten films—from avant-garde and documentary films to Hollywood B-movies.
When Sari Braithwaite gained unprecedented access to this mysterious collection, she though she could create a work to liberate this censored archive, to honour these displaced frames, and condemn censorship. But, after years of bearing witness to these fragments of film, this archive became challenging and unnerving. It felt almost impossible to celebrate or reconcile.
[CENSORED] is a work stitched entirely from these never-before-seen artefacts of censorship: it is the story of how one filmmaker confronted an archive to reckon with film, censorship, and the power of the gaze.
Featuring an acclaimed soundtrack by Munro Melano and the End, [CENSORED] is an entertaining and provacative polemic, challenging audiences with questions that defy easy answers. Just as the censor and the filmmaker are made complicit, so is the audience, who bear witness to this ambitious work.
“A welcome contribution to the fractious debate over freedom of artistic expression and freedom of expression itself… Strikes just the right balance between certainty and uncertainty, moral seriousness and ambivalence.” —Michael Smith, Ph.D., Princeton University
“[CENSORED] was meant to celebrate freedom. Instead, it exposes something darker.” —The Guardian
"If you like to think about how we look, who we look at, and the power dynamics involved, do not miss this film." —New Zealand International Film Festival
"Spotlights movie scenes censored by the Australian government." —Chicago Tribune
"[Packs] a punch, asking audiences to reflect on our own expectations of art, narrative and reality and just what we do—and don't—want to see on screen." —Third Coast Review
“Must-see! Bound to open your eyes. Expect to be challenged and entertained, and to explore the role of censorship, as you step through a movie compiled from parts of other movies that you really weren't meant to see." —Concrete Playground
“Throws our attention to the present where we ask ourselves: 50 years later, how much have things actually changed?” —The SpinoffBest Documentary, 2018 Chicago International Film Festival
2019 Docpoint Film Festival Helsinki
2019 Castlemaine State Festival
2018 Sydney Film Festival
2018 Melbourne International Film Festival
2018 Brisbane International Film Festival
2018 Adelaide Film Festival
2018 New Zealand International Film Festival
2018 Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and Len Lye Centre
“Top 10 film to see at the Chicago Film Festival.” —Chicago Sun-Times