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All Quiet On the Western Front


Sat 19 Nov 2016, 4:45pm–7:00pm
Wed 23 Nov 2016, 6:30pm–8:45pm

Where: Nga Taonga Sound & Vision, 84 Taranaki St, Te Aro, Wellington

Restrictions: R13

Ticket Information:

  • General Admission: $10.25 ($10.00 + $0.25 fees)
  • Concession Admission: $8.20 ($8.00 + $0.20 fees)
  • Eventfinda tickets no longer on sale

Screening as part of "Censored - 100 Years of Film Censorship in New Zealand."

In August 1916 the Cinematograph Film Censorship Act was passed, making it illegal to show any film in New Zealand without it first being passed by the Censor. To commemorate 100 years of censorship in New Zealand Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision is showing a number of films that were banned in New Zealand on their initial release, as well as hosting public events that examine the history of film censorship in New Zealand and the challenge of censorship in today's digital age.

"'All Quiet on the Western Front' is a 1930 American epic Pre-Code war film based on the Erich Maria Remarque novel of the same name [it] is considered a realistic and harrowing account of warfare in World War I, and was named #54 on the AFI's 100 Years, 100 Movies. In 1990, the film was selected and preserved by the United States Library of Congress' National Film Registry as being deemed 'culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.' The film was the first to win the Academy Awards for both Outstanding Production and Best Director." – Wikipedia entry.

Despite it’s more recent critical acclaim, New Zealand’s censor William Tanner didn’t agree at the time of the film’s release, banning it as anti-war propaganda in June 1930. He wrote the film had: "No entertainment. Packed with the nauseating side of war from start to finish. Its only merit is that it is claimed to be an indictment of war, & strong peace propaganda. This is doubtful. In any case, it is a question whether the screen should be used for propaganda of any kind." – Censor's notes from All Quiet on the Western Front, History of Censorship in New Zealand Timeline.

The decision aroused enough controversy that 18 MPs, who had been to a private screening organised by the film’s distributors, lobbied the Minister of Internal Affairs in support of the film; the proposed solution was to resubmit with a few cuts, enough "as to constitute a new film" (Paul Christoffel, "Censored: A Short History of Censorship in New Zealand," Research Unit, Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington, 1989, p.16). This was again rejected by the censor, but was passed by the appeal board. One of the first controversies over film censorship in New Zealand, this is an example of political censorship due to its anti-war message.

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