Cut, produced by young filmmaker Royston Tan, attracted controversy even before hitting the screens when the producer was chastised for making fun of a public institution.

   

The 13-minute satire, the first film at the Singapore International Film Festival on Thursday, is about a film buff who has a chance encounter in a supermarket with a censorship board official and explodes into a rant on films the board has cut.

   

"We were pretty optimistic that it would have worked out. It was just that it was left quite to the very tail-end," said Vinata Ramani, the film festival's publicist, noting that Cut was part of a two-film screening on the opening night.

   

Policy

 

Movie-goers would have had to miss the satire if the censors had demanded scenes be scissored because the festival's policy is not to show films with cuts, Ramani said.

   

The organisers are still waiting for two local films -  "Zombie Dogs" and "Outsiders" -- to be passed without cuts, Ramani said. The films contain social commentary on subjects such as suicide, pornography and alienation.

 

"We were pretty optimistic that it would have worked out. It was just that it was left quite to the very tail-end"

Vinata Ramani,
publicist

Tan, 27, said he felt grateful for the decision because local audiences could now judge his film on its merits.

   

The filmmaker said Cut was proving more popular than his first full-length feature 15, about drugs and delinquency, which won international plaudits last year.

   

Cut is to be shown at more than 50 festivals, including the London and Vancouver film festivals, he said.

   

The film comes at a delicate time for Singapore as it takes tentative steps to relax censorship laws that now ban Playboy magazine, routinely clip racy scenes from movies and scissor drug references from pop culture magazines.

   

The Media Development Authority of Singapore said the film Cut had been rated PG (parental guidance), in accordance with classification guidelines. Censors last month adopted a new film ratings system to give young adults more access to mature content.