Amazon Prime Video Bans Bruce LaBruce’s Queer Comedy-Drama Saint-Narcisse
‘It’s almost reassuring to know that I can still be banned or censored in this day and age!’- Bruce LaBruce
Amazon Prime Video UK has refused to make Bruce LaBruce’s darkly comic psycho-sexual thriller Saint-Narcisse available on its store, the film’s distributor Peccadillo Pictures has been informed. The reasons for the rejection are unclear and Peccadillo has yet to receive a response to its requests for more detailed information.
The film, which has been classified ‘18’ without cuts by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), had previously been available on Amazon Prime Video in the US (Amazon.com) and France (Amazon.fr), but has since been removed from those stores also.
‘It’s almost reassuring to know that I can still be banned or censored in this day and age!’ says director Bruce LaBruce, ‘After being available for five months on Amazon Prime in the USA, my movie “Saint-Narcisse” has been removed from the platform in the US, France, and the UK for “offensive content.” My movies have been banned in various territories over the years and cut to shreds since the early 90’s by British censors, but considering what’s available on these platforms now, it’s quite astonishing’.
This is the latest LGBTQ+ themed film to have been effectively banned from Amazon Prime Video in recent years, following the exclusion of Peccadillo Pictures’ 2020 release of Chilean prison drama The Prince, US distributor Oscilloscope’s 2022 re-release of John Cameron Mitchell’s Shortbus, and NQV Media’s short film compilation The Male Gaze: Nocturnal Instincts. Amazon cited “offensive content” as the reason for rejecting those titles.
Peccadillo’s MD Tom Abell said, ‘We are totally mystified as to why Amazon Prime Video is refusing to make the critically acclaimed ‘Saint-Narcisse’ available to its customers, both here in the UK and internationally.
‘Whilst this hugely entertaining film is full of the outrageousness and provocations that are Bruce LaBruce’s hallmarks, we have no idea if Amazon’s objections relate to the film’s themes, or to particular sequences, or a combination thereof.’
He continues, ‘I’m genuinely puzzled because there are numerous other films available on Amazon Prime Video which explore similar themes, and several which are far more sexually explicit. It is somewhat alarming to note the company’s increasing tendency to refuse certain queer films access to their platform.”
Described by The Guardian as “a welcome blast of subversive naughtiness” that “blends humour and camp with real pathos”, Saint-Narcisse premiered at the 77th Venice Film Festival and also screened at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival. Co-written and directed by cult Canadian filmmaker Bruce LaBruce, it tells the story of a narcissistic young man (Félix-Antoine Duval) who discovers he has an identical twin, raised in captivity by a wicked priest. When destiny brings the brothers together, they soon become embroiled in an anarchic web of sex, revenge and redemption.
Bruce LaBruce says, ‘What’s interesting to me is that it’s not the sexual explicitness of Saint-Narcisse that is preventing it from being streamed on Amazon Prime – there is none – but the subversive and challenging sexual themes and implications of the film. For smaller independent films and distributors, decisions like this really do make it even more difficult than it already is to produce and promote work autonomously. I’m curious to know precisely what has got the platform into such high dudgeon!’
Fortunately, audiences in the UK and Ireland can find Saint-Narcisse available on numerous other VOD platforms as well as on DVD and PeccadilloPOD.com
BruceLaBruce will be talking live about the film and the ban on Peccadillo Sofa Club’s YouTube on Monday 27th June. You can join PeccadilloSofaClub live Q&As here https://bit.ly/SofaClubLive