Censorship of movies is rarely justified, but at least most of the time it manages to make some kind of sense, like blurring out Harvey Keitel's penis or digitally removing all of the human actors from a Transformers movie. But the world is a diverse place, full of all different kinds of crazy, which means some of the international bans on famous movies just sound like nonsense:
6The Philippines Banned Every Movie Starring Claire Danes
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Brokedown Palace is a 1999 drama that most of you have never seen which tells the story of two women getting arrested and imprisoned in Thailand for drug smuggling. Because the film is critical of the Thai government, the movie's producers decided to shoot the whole thing in the Philippines instead, correctly reasoning that nobody would be able to tell the difference. As they expected, Brokedown Palace was totally banned in Thailand when it was finally released in theaters. A bit more unexpected was the film's stone-fisted expulsion from the Philippines, who banned the movie after star Claire Danes did her absolute best to talk as much shit about the Philippines as she possibly could while they were filming.
20th Century Fox
Double when you include the shit dialogue.
In a series of interviews for Vogue and Premiere magazines, Danes lamented that the Filipino capital of Manila was a "ghastly and weird city," and that getting paid millions of dollars to film a movie there for three months "was just so hard." She didn't stop there:
The place just fucking smelled of cockroaches. There's no sewage system in Manila, and people have nothing there. People with, like, no arms, no legs, no eyes, no teeth. We shot in a real [psychiatric] hospital, so takes would be interrupted by wailing women, like, "Cut! Screaming person." Rats were everywhere.
Manila, according to Danes, was essentially a giant toilet full of crazy people.
20th Century Fox
Yeah, screaming people sure do suck.
Danes' comments didn't please the president of the Philippines, Joseph Estrada. Not only did he respond by banning Brokedown Palace from being screened in the country, he went so far as to ban all of Danes' films in perpetuity, and he forbade her from entering the country until she issued a formal apology. Her passive-aggressive version of said apology went as follows:
Because of the subject matter of our film Brokedown Palace, the cast was exposed to the darker and more impoverished places of Manila. My comments in Premiere magazine only reflect those locations, not my attitude towards the Filipino people. They were nothing but warm, friendly, and supportive.
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"The rats can go fuck themselves, though."
This was apparently the equivalent of writing the words "I'm sorry" on a kazoo and playing it with her asshole. A spokesperson for the Philippine government called it an "excuse made by Hollywood press officers and not a genuine apology." The went on to say, "We know if an apology is true or not. ... We will lift the ban only if we are satisfied." That was 15 years ago, and it doesn't appear they ever formally lifted the ban. Though they did allow citizens to see movies like Terminator 3 and Stardust, possibly because they didn't realize Danes was in them.
Meanwhile, the country has turned its ire on Justin Bieber because he mocked Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao on Instagram, leading to calls to ban the singer from visiting the country and demands for a boycott of his albums. Damn, son. You do not talk shit about the Philippines.
5North Korea Banned 2012 Because of Their Own 2012 Predictions
North Korea famously has a varsity letter in both craziness and nonsensical oppression, so it's not too surprising to learn that they've banned their fair share of movies for ridiculous reasons. So when we say, "North Korea forbade anyone from seeing Roland Emmerich's 2012," you might be thinking, "That makes sense. Did they ban it for showing the destruction of some important Korean landmark, or just because it's the worst fucking movie ever made?" Neither. They banned it because it ran counter to their own crazypants prophecies about the year 2012.
You see, 2012 was the 100-year anniversary of the birth of North Korea's founder, Kim Il Sung, which for them was a time of great celebration that unfortunately happened to coincide with Emmerich's babbling pseudoscience about Mayan Armageddon. While Kim's grand anniversary was gearing up to be a bitching shindig promising to "open the grand gates to becoming a rising superpower," Emmerich's movie foretold mass drownings and the death of Woody Harrelson, both of which will instantly ruin a party.
He died doing what he loved: getting lit up.
So, not only did North Korea ban the film from screening, they levied massive fines and even tossed in prison time for anyone caught with a bootleg copy of 2012, charging any offenders with "a grave provocation against the development of the state."
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It's No. 534 on the government's grave provocation list, after "hair mockery" but before "breathing."
Kim Jong Il died in December 2011, so he didn't actually live to see whether his or Emmerich's prediction came true (spoiler alert: neither did). North Korea remains a struggling dictatorship, Harrelson is alive and well, and Emmerich is getting ready to hand out two sequels to Independence Day that absolutely nobody asked for.
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Those slack-ass Mayans have until June 2016 to unleash the meteors and save us all.