Re: censorship of Farocki's film

Stan Gilliam (stan@pals.guilford.edu)
Thu, 24 Sep 1998 05:48:12 -0700 (PDT)

Even though you may be disturbed by Allied's position, I don't think you
should label this as
"censorship." The lab has no control or power over the distribution of the
film, and I don't suppose there is any law that requires them to duplicate a
particular film or even to do business with Facets.
I'm sure you can find someone else to duplicate it.

At 06:47 PM 9/23/98 -0700, you wrote:
>Dear Friends,
>
>Today, we learned that Allied Digital Technologies in Elk Grove Village,
Illinois, one of the country's
>major video duplicators and formerly a film laboratory, informed Facets
Viode that they have made a "final
>decision" to not fulfill our purchase order for tape copies of Harun
Farocki's documentary film, LIFE IN THE
>GERMAN FEDERAL REPUBLIC (1989). Allied has been the principal lab and
duplicator used by Facets Video for over
>15 years.
>
>In their own words, Allied explained that, "Allied made a decision years
ago to not duplicate any programs
>that could be considered offensive to Children's or Religious markets and
even our employees," and that "the
>first portion of the program show(s) a male and female engaging in explicit
sexual intercourse" and because
>
>Harun Farocki is one of the most important filmmakers working in Germany -
the director of over a dozen
>films, and the subject of a major national U.S. and Canadian 1991
retrospective tour sponsored by the Goethe
>Institute, which played, among other venues, the Cinematheque Ontario,
Anthology Film Archives in New York
>City, and Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston and Pacific Film Archive in
Berkeley, California.
>
> LIFE IN THE GFR (also known as "How to Live in the Federal Republic of
Germany") is described by Farocki (in
>the program of the 1990 Berlin Film Festival where it premiered) as "a
playful film." Women enact childbirth,
>policemen the arrest of tenants, bank employees the calming of angry
customers....These role-playing games,
>psychodramas, sociodramas present a view of life in the Federal Republic of
Germany." Writing about the film
>in the Toronto Globe and Mail, John Bentley Mays said "Farocki is no
self-righteous, finger-pointing unmasker.
>He's made it his business merely to open up the paradoxes, waywardness and
mperversities hidden by the facade
>of culture, to tell the hidden stories of war, peace and technology that
he's ferreted out oft he archives of
>modern forgetfulness."
>
>While Farocki's film does open with a very short simulated sex scene -- a
computer game device is being tested
>for durability with a pornographic film. LIFE IN GFR is perhaps one of the
most anti-pornographic films ever
>made.
>
>We at Facets view this action by Allied as another instance of a corporate
entity -- in this case a lab --
>setting itself up in judgment of an artist's work -- and in fact censoring
that work. Allied's stated hope
>that "our decision does not jeopardize our relationship with Facets" (from
the same letter by Jim Mitchell,
>Vice President of Sales) represents to us a hypocritical double-standard in
which the artist's rights to
>think, create and disseminate their work are marginalized, restricted and
libeled as "pornographic" by
>economic fears.
>
>We have informed Allied that if, indeed, they choose not to duplicate LIFE
IN THE GFR, Facets will withdraw
>ALL of the more than 200 video masters from Allied (which includes work by
many American independents, Godard,
>Kiarostami, Makavejev, etc. and refuse Allied any of our duplicating business.
>
>The reason for sharing this with you is because we feel this censorship
peril is lurking quietly in many
>hidden spots of the economy. Therefore we feel that Allied's action should
not go unmarked.
>
>Any comments or letters to Allied about this matter should be addressed to
Jim Mitchell, Vice President of
>Sales, FAX 847-595-8677 or e-mailed to:
>ilchigg@allied.mhs.compuserve.com
>
>
>Many thanks.
>
>
>Milos Stehlik
>Director
>Facets Video
>
>
>
Stan Gilliam
Director of Media Services
Guilford College
5800 W. Friendly Avenue
Greensboro, NC 27410
__----__
Phone 336 316 2345 \/ __ \/
Fax 336 316 2950 >( ____ )<
E-mail Stan@pals.guilford.edu >| ___\ ___ |<
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