New Besson film bypassed over ‘security’ fears
25 November 2004
BRUSSELS – Two of Brussels’ biggest cinemas have banned the latest film by French writer and director Luc Besson, citing security fears, it emerged on Thursday.
The cinemas Kinepolis and UGC have said they won’t screen Banlieue 13 (released in English as Suburbs 13) in the capital of Europe – although they will show it in Liege and Braine-l’Alleud.
Directed by Pierre Morel and written by Besson, Banlieue 13 sold 500,000 tickets in French cinemas in its first week.
Set in Paris in 2013, it is an acrobatic, martial arts-style movie about a prisoner released to help a special unit police officer.
Although it is violent, it has been rated suitable for under 16s.
However, the cinemas feel it represents a security risk in Brussels because it could provoke spectators to behave violently.
Myriam Dassonville, a spokeswoman for Kinepolis, said although there hadn’t been any problems in France, films had to be selected in terms of suitability for the local audience.
“We are practising a preventive policy to avoid any incidents,” she said.
“From experience, we can confirm that there’s a direct link between security problems and what we show and the public that the films target. Since the start of the year, we have been going for family films aimed at a wide audience rather than action films which could generate aggressive behaviour.”
It has been questioned as to whether violent incidents at the Heysel complex have contributed to the decision not to screen the film.
Belga Films, the Belgian distributor of Banlieue 13, has described the decision not to screen the film as “unprecedented”.
Marketing and communications manager Jean-Marie Gregoire said: “Never in Belgium has a cinema complex not screened a film for security reasons.
“The film should be seen for what it is: pure fiction, like Taxi, Yamakasi or Je ne veux pas de bagarres chez moi.”
Gregoire added that security problems at cinemas should be dealt with by strengthening cinema security, not by banning films.
He added that in Brussels cinemas seemed to be judging films in French as bound to attract the wrong kind of audience.
“We weren’t going to offer a subtitled English version of a French film,” he said.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news