Ultimate video nasty stays banned in Ireland

There’s no doubting the big story in Irish film this week

There's no doubting the big story in Irish film this week. It has emerged that the Irish Film Classification Office has banned the DVD reissue of I Spit on Your Grave, Meir Zarchi's seminal 1978 rape-revenge shocker. Then again, given that the film (also called Day of the Woman) can easily be viewed on satellite channels and purchased from UK online retailers, it would, perhaps, be more accurate to say that the IFCO has "blocked the sale of the DVD in domestic retail outlets".

Following a great deal of kerfuffle on the net and across the airwaves, Ger Connolly, the acting classification officer, issued the following statement: "IFCO does not wish to be drawn into what appears to be a publicity drive on the part of the film's director, but stands over the decision to prohibit I Spit on Your Grave(1978) for sustained, graphic and brutal sexual violence."

There is a kernel of truth in this statement. The distributors have, indeed, done a good job of disseminating quotes from Zarchi, and the IFCO has confirmed that, unusually, they have so far not requested an independent appeal of the decision.

Observers of censorship do, however, have legitimate concerns about the banning of a 30-year-old movie that, for all its grubbiness, has an important place in film history. While the classification office is at it, why not ban Lars Von Trier's Antichristor Gaspar Noé's Irréversible?

Donald Clarke

Donald Clarke

Donald Clarke, a contributor to The Irish Times, is Chief Film Correspondent and a regular columnist