First, I want to say that it takes a lot of nerve to interview an ayatollah in Iran on the subject of censorship, where in a heartbeat you could wind up dead in Evin prison. A similarly unpleasant fate could easily befall you in Sudan or China, two of the other locations where this was filmed. But that's about all I have to say about this doc that's positive. The filmmaker sets out with a clearly articulated question: Is there a sound argument to be made in favour of government censorship? But he then completely fails to pursue that question (let alone answer it), instead leaving the viewer to read between the lines of the answers he receives to a lot of unrelated questions posed mostly to people who are a little distanced from the regimes they actually work for. The other big problem here is in the presentation: As he jets from country to country, he doesn't bother to inform the viewer (via voiceover, captioning, smoke signal, or anything else) where (or when) he's just landed, or provide any other setting, introduction, or background. For example, we're suddenly in a room with a man who is conducting an apparently Hindu ritual - but why? Who is he? Where are we? India would be a good guess, but it doesn't have as high a percentage of Hindus as Nepal, so it's far from certain. There's a lot of this sort of failure to provide necessary context that becomes increasingly annoying. So while we appreciate the effort, perhaps next time you can line up a collaborator to help keep you on track and temper your assumptions. In fact, it's not too late for this one - it'd certainly benefit from a little re-editing to add the missing contextual information.
Meet the Censors
Meet the Censors
From a Kafkaesque office for social media in Germany into South Sudan military headquarters, to conversations with an Iranian Ayatollah, Indian film censors and Chinese news editors. ...
February 12, 2021