SSI english   The BLUTGEIL Case    Video-Burning!    Prison for satirical Video!
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Movie burned, 
Artist in jail!

Despite scandals about "Nazi-Gold" and "Jew-Stamp", freedom of culture was far-reaching guaranteed in Switzerland even during WW2 - in contrast to Nazi-Germany or the "realsocialistic countries". 

 Half a century later Switzerland breaks with this tradition, when most controversial and Europeanwide unique article 135 of Swiss criminal code was enacted in 1989 - the total ban of portrayal of violence. It was the time of the video-boom, when concerned parents called for legal regulations to prevent minors from watching unsuitable videos. But instead of putting up a comission to classify movies and working together with experienced German film comission FSK / JK, movies are declared criminal 

 Already before article 135 came into force, resistance rose among famous Swiss artists (f.e. Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Max Frisch, a.o.). They castigated art. 135 as cultural censorship law and stated the decline of a liberal state when judges start to decide on art. Contrary to prognosis of considerable professors of jurisprudence - woolly art. 135 will never be used - Swiss video-ketchup-comedy "Blutgeil" was taken to court in 1994. 

 While "Natural born killers" and "Pulp fiction" was shown without any difficulties in Swiss cinemas, the public prosecutor demanded 4 months of prison for the 4 accused film-makers of "Blutgeil", a 20-minute video with a production value of $ 1000.-. 
The opinion of the supreme court was full of historic quotations: 

"Culture must be positive!" 
Or: "Culture, that deserves this name, must be capable of winnig a majority." The jury considered the no-budget-video "harmful in general" and as art "unworthy of protection", therefore will not be "preserved to the posterity", but "destroyed". The merciful sentence finally imposed "generous" Fr. 1000.- fine per person. One artist, who couldn't pay his fine, had to go to prison for 33 days (1 day = Fr. 30.-).  

On occasion of the prison-entry the artists performed a "tableau vivant" against censorship in switzerland in front of the penal institution in Urdorf / Zurich. With drastic consequences for the prisoned artist: As additional punishment for renitent prisoners, he was transported to the by its bad reputation well known airport prison, where he was refused even Vitaminpills, not to mention the prescripted medicamentation and diet

 Most incomprehensible is the fact, that article 135 punishes the portrayal of violence equally as real physical use of force. F.e. a Swiss citizen, who shouted at a jew: "Adolf [Hitler] forgot you." and maltreated his victim with foot-kicks and a punch - was condemned to 30 days of prison too. 

 The "Blutgeil Case" is no isolated case

With the assisence of Swiss customs investigations the police initiates constantly legal proceedings against shop-owners and private persons. Despite shaky legal grounds, f.e. zombie-movie-fans are criminalized for buying a video-film you can watch on TV the same time! On you get further online-information about censorship in Switzerland. 

 The abolition of this legal mistake article 135 and the rehabilitation of the film-makers is all in the stars. It remains to hope that Swiss legislation will find a reasonable solution, at the latest if they want to enter the European community. 


SSI english   The BLUTGEIL Case    Video-Burning!    Prison for satirical Video!