France has restricted access to a new documentary on radical Islam by giving it the French equivalent of an NC-17 film rating, The New York Times reports.
The French Culture Ministry said Wednesday that “Salafistes,” which explores life under Sharia law and the roots of extremist groups like ISIS and the Salafists, is inappropriate for minors due to “sometimes unbearable” scenes that are “degrading to human dignity,” the newspaper adds. Only adults 18 and over will be able to see the film in theaters.
Some of its scenes include images of a police officer being killed in last year’s attack on satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, terrorists’ openly degrading women and praising the 9/11 attacks and interviews with members of Al Qaeda and other groups, which could be interpreted as terror propaganda.
“We wanted to show what it was like to live under the Shariah when we started the project, but then [The Islamic State] emerged and we had to put it in the synopsis,” the film’s director François Margolin told the New York Times.
As a result, the FIPA festival in Southwestern France decided to limit access to the film to journalists, reviewers, and others with special credentials, the newspaper adds.
Margolin has disagreed with the film’s assessment, saying audiences “are intelligent enough to understand” the film is not meant to promote extremism.
“The interviews explain the ideology of these people, and the propaganda images are here to show in practice how their ideas work,” Margolin said Tuesday. He added that he had not expected the film to be rated at all.
Movie-goers at the “Salafistes” Paris premier on Tuesday were conflicted; some said the film encouraged audiences to confront the reality of terrorism, while others thought it was nothing more than propaganda, the newspaper adds.
And the controversy is expected to hurt profits. Instead of opening in 30 theaters nationwide, “Salafistes” is only expected to be shown in three.
“We are going to lose a lot of money despite the fact that we risked our lives to shoot some scenes,” Margolin said, The New York Times reports.