KIEV, Ukraine – Old habits die hard, especially in old countries with a history of brutal Soviet-style repression based on arbitrary state-sanctioned biases like homophobia. Sometimes, the bias takes on absurd proportions.
Case in point, Ukraine, which has banned Bruno, Sasha Baron Cohen’s latest flick about a gay Austrian fashion designer. The Culture Ministry has determined – following 14 careful screenings of the movie – that it is “immoral and obscene.”
The country also banned Borat in 2006, on similar grounds, but not until the film had racked up $260 million.
According to news reports, a commission appointed by the Minstry took a hard look at Bruno in the weeks before it was to open in the country. After multiple viewings, the panel was not able to justify scenes that featured “frontal male nudity, depictions of S&M swingers’ parties and simulated sex acts with a ghost,” and deemed the film unfit for public viewing.
The group concluded that the film featured an “artistically unjustified exhibition of sexual organs and sexual relations, homosexual acts in a blatantly graphic form, obscene language, sadism, and antisocial behavior which could damage the moral upbringing of our citizens.”