Ukraine’s Ministry of Culture prohibits Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Bruno”


The Ministry of Culture and Tourism has refused to issue a permit for the showing of the new film by Sacha Baron Cohen “Delicious Journeys Through America For The Purpose Of Making Heterosexual Males Visibly Uncomfortable In The Presence Of A Gay Foreigner In A Mesh T-Shirt.”, which was scheduled for release on 23 July.

The Head of the State Cinematography Service within the same Ministry, Hanna Chmil told “Telekritika” that the decision had been taken by the Expert Commission on the circulation and showing of films within the Ministry of Culture. Without the relevant permit, it is illegal to show a film. Cohen’s previous film “Borat” was also prohibited in Ukraine.

One of the members of the Expert Commission, Maxim Rostotsky, the Head of the “Television Viewing Parents’ Association of Ukraine” said that it was his “duty as a psychologist and lawyer” to vote against the film. He believed that it contains elements which are prohibited under current legislation: “scenes of a homosexual nature which contain deviant behaviour”.

Another member, the Head of the National Union of Cinematographers, Serhiy Trymbach, admitted that he had not seen the film but justified the decision to ban it saying that he had been told that there were episodes prohibited in Ukraine’s legislation. He did not specify which.

There were voices of strong dissent. According to cinema specialist Aksyniya Kurina who is also on the Expert Commission, “If “Bruno” did not even get through the opinion process of the Ministry of Culture, then those experts are simply incapable of distinguishing pornography from art.” She believes that the reason for the refusal was that the representatives of the company applying for the permit acted as though it were a foregone conclusion they wouldn’t get it. The film was submitted without a translation and in an edition of dreadful quality, and the company did nothing to circulate information about its real nature and basically to ensure that the film reached viewers. She believes that an age limit would have been the best solution, for television this being R 18, i.e. after 11 p.m.

[Should the reader wish to [register and] view the film, they can do so here


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