Greater Union lifts ‘Combination’ ban

Cinema chain to resume screeings in Sydney

After struggling in recent years for domestic attention, the first Oz film release of 2009 is attracting attention for all the wrong reasons.

Dominant exhib Greater Union yanked “The Combination” from screens Sunday after two separate violent incidents during screenings of the pic, which portrays disenfranchised Lebanese-Australian youths.

Fringe film distribbed by indie outfit Australian Film Syndicate, starring its scriptwriter, George Basha, and directed by thesp David Field, had been the No. 1 pic in at least six locations in ethnically diverse western Sydney, until it was pulled.

In one incident Thursday, a security guard was assaulted and hospitalized after he asked a patron to stop smoking in a cinema, in the other on Saturday, an altercation broke out toward the end of one session after one patron was said to have asked another to be quiet.Following negotiations with the pic’s distrib, Greater Union reinstated the film Tuesday with additional security.

The broader industry applauded the pic’s reinstatement, and helmer Basha said the loop had inititally overreacted.

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