RARA-AVIS: Television censorship: Taboada

From: Todd Mason ( Todd.Mason@tvguide.com)
Date: 20 Aug 2003

-----Original Message----- From: Mario Taboada [mailto: matrxtech@yahoo.com] I rarely watch movies on television, but in recent months I have noticed that the Bravo channel, for example, cuts movies. They totally eliminated a brief but key sex scene in Kieslowski's Red (with Trintignant). I think it's outrageous. When Bravo started out, they were a good channel, not an exhibitor of disfigured films.

--After they stopped being a "premium" (extra-pay, such as HBO) service, and became a "basic-cable" channel (not that this stopped some cable outlets from charging extra for Bravo and other "basic" services), it began doing silly things such as reframing such films as A MAN IN LOVE so that you were seeing only 1/4 of the already truncated "fullscreen" image...you could hear the sexual encounter, but you might see only the foreheads of the characters. Making for a very grainy experience, nostalgic for fans of midcentury porn films...

Many channels also seem to have some kind of aversion to female breasts and to nudity in general, as if there were something unhealthy about the human body. So they butcher the films they show. I am talking about US television. Things are different in Europe (how are they in Canada?).

As an occasional visitor to border country (Vermont, Michigan), I can attest that mild-mannered Canadians attempt to pollute our virgin Yank eyes and ears with unedited movies in primetime on CBC, and perhaps even on CTV and the other commercial nets. But then, most (by no means all) PBS stations let more adult imagery and language go forth than most of the commercial nets do, most of the time (NYPD BLUE, CHICAGO HOPE...perhaps it helps to have a city in the title...being often-precious examples of exceptions over the last decade). ROOTS had a few scenes that surprised me in this regard, back when (and everyone I've met who's ever seen it seems to remember the PBS HOLLYWOOD THEATER production of Bruce Jay Friedman's "Steambath", with Valeri Perrine). TM

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