Director Tarryn Brumfitt’s film, Embrace, is the most successfully crowdfunded documentary in Australian history and drew praise from audiences and critics alike when it played at the Sydney Film Festival, but that didn’t stop it from receiving an MA15+ rating for “strong nudity.”
The irony is that Embrace is a film about body image issues, specifically media-reinforced attitudes towards the female form. Brumfit conducted interviews with a huge number of high-profile women, including Mia Freedman, Ricki Lake, Professor Marika Tiggemann, Amanda de Cadenet, Jes Baker (a.k.a. The Militant Baker), and motivational speaker Turia Pitt, in order to discuss the issue of body shame and the psychological damage it is doing to young women.
Speaking to news.com.au, Brumfitt observed “From test screenings, the number one piece of feedback we have had is: ‘I want my daughter to see this’,” but an MA15+ rating will make it difficult to reach the younger audience that she believes will benefit the most from the film.
The sequence which apparently pushed the Classification Board over the line is one in which a number of vaginas are shown in close up, a scene which the Board says includes “protruding labia.”
“The nudity in my film is completely in context.” Truffitt said. “The only way these images can be harmful is if they continue to be censored.”
For those over 15 or accompanied by a guardian, Embrace is out nationally on August 4 via Transmission Films.