Directed by Sari Braithwaite • Documentary • 2018 • 66 minutes
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.
“[CENSORED] was meant to celebrate freedom. Instead, it exposes something darker.” —The Guardian