Have a read of The Herald editorial from 11th June 1974:
Festival bows to gangster tactics
The Melbourne Film Festival has been outspoken in the past on its right to show controversial films including those of a political and social character. Now, because of some anonymous phone calls it has backed off from screening “Chung Kuo” the Italian made documentary on life in China.
It is outrageous that anonymous threats should prevent this film being shown at the festival. That the organizers were so quick to succumb is a deplorable reflection on what the festival is all about.
If the festival organizers and unions feared the threats of bombs and violence were genuine as, no doubt, they have every right to do, then the full power of the Victorian Police Force should have been thrown into the case. Political gangsterism and gagging of the media with threats of bombs cannot be tolerated in this country.
The festival director, Mr Erwin Rado, said there had been considerable pressure from the Chinese Embassy to cancel the film. In that event, the embassy should be told to mind its own business.
Thankfully, the ABC came to the party and screened the film on television a couple of weeks later.
The Festival stood up to the pressure this time around, weathering the intimidation of staff and cyber attacks on the website. Check out this link to see what happened: China’s new film threat.
If you go back to June 1974 it was a rather different world. The French exploded a bomb at Mururoa Atoll and hours later the Chinese also exploded one – in the atmosphere. “China mobs loose in provinces, say posters.” It was the pre-internet era of posters in Peking telling of mass murders and other horror.
In Melbourne meanwhile, Village Cinemas were showing the following films: Deep Throat, The Sensualist, The Language of Love, Secrets of a Door-to-door Salesman & I am Frigid, Why?