American actor James Franco has spoken out against the banning of an art film by Australian censors because of its explicit gay sex scenes.
Travis Mathews’ film I Want Your Love had been set to be screened at upcoming gay film festivals in Australia but was banned by the country’s Classification Board.
Franco, who is known both for his avant-garde gay-themed work as well as his starring roles in blockbuster Hollywood films, has come out in defence of the film and its director, with whom he has previously collaborated.
“Travis is making this film, including sex, because he wants to explore story and character and the nuances that sex contains,” said Franco in a video posted on YouTube.
“Because films have been banned because of sex, sex and films haven’t had a chance to grow and become a sophisticated storytelling device. And frankly adults should be able to choose. They’re not going in blind.
A scene from I Want Your Love
“I don’t know why in this day and age, something like this — a film that is using sex not for titillation but to talk about being human — is being banned. It’s just embarrassing,” said the star.
Melbourne Queer Film Festival Director Lisa Daniel, who had planned on screening the film, also described the banning “as an embarrassment for Australia” and told The Age that this was the first time in her 15 years with the festival that a film had been banned.
It’s been pointed out that the Australian Classification Board has been bizarrely inconsistent in its rulings.
While it banned I Want Your Love due to its gay sex scenes, it last year allowed a documentary that graphically depicted sex between men and donkeys to be shown.
Franco previously worked with Mathews on the 60 minute film Interior. Leather Bar, which uses the gay S&M scene to explore the boundaries of showing sex on screen.
Watch Franco’s YouTube video on the film’s banning below.