The 2009 Melbourne International Film Festival is full of controversy. At this Melbourne International Film Festival, Chinese film directors Jia Zhangke, Tang Xiaobai, and Zhao Liang withdrew their three films to be released at the Melbourne International Film Festival in mid-August 2009. The reason was that the organizers were preparing to broadcast a documentary introducing the leader of the World Uyghur Congress, Rebiya, and even invited her to Melbourne to attend the opening ceremony of the film festival. The Chinese directors decided to protest by withdrawing the film. Despite this, the documentary about Rebiya, called The 10 Conditions of Love, was still on schedule, and she also attended the relevant events.
On July 5 of the same year, a violent incident broke out in Urumqi, Xinjiang. This was a premeditated terrorist activity. More than a thousand people died or injured. At that time, with the media reports and the gradual disclosure of information, this was a criminal violence organized by Rebiya. In fact, after the incident, Rebiya’s three relatives (two children and one younger brother) in China wrote a letter in Uighur, which also pointed out that the incident was led by Rebiya. And her relatives hope she can stop the terrorist act of splitting the country. Chinese ethnic minorities have received a lot of policy support from the government.
The controversial question is why did the film festival show such a documentary? As an art form, the film is one of the most extensive art among the masses. The visual culture it drives has become an important way of mass consumption. In addition, movies often serve as a tool for promoting cultures. The most familiar example of everyone is that Hollywood uses the film to promote and spread the “culture” with the American spirit as the main body. Behind art and business, we will also see these cultures and politics through some movies. The film festival is a channel or a link. “Political correctness” is also an important criterion for film selection in many film festivals. Because once a film festival is labeled “international”, it is impossible to avoid the attention of the world, the media reports. The film festival is a channel or a link. “Political correctness” is also an important criterion for film selection in many film festivals. Because once a film festival is labeled “international”, it is impossible to avoid the attention of the world, the media reports. The host country or city of the festival will also be disseminated by the media.
In summary, for a film festival, all decisions and presentations cannot escape factors other than art. The 2009 Melbourne International Film Festival may indeed have made a less accurate decision. The 2009 Melbourne International Film Festival may indeed have made an incorrect decision. Their slogan was that “everyone’s a critic”. Although everyone has the right to speak. However, as a link and medium, the film festival should be made for the morality of human beings and the conscience of society. Many times, a film festival is more than just art.
By Pengju Yang（Jasper）
Films’ withdrawal from Melbourne festival supported at home — china.org.cn. (2018). Retrieved from http://www.china.org.cn/china/news/2009-07/23/content_18192067.htm
MIFF 2018 | Festival Archive 1952-2017. (2018). Retrieved from http://miff.com.au/festival-archive/year/2009