Australian Council on Children and the Media

Partisan

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Not suitable under 15, disturbing themes, scenes and violence.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Partisan
  • a review of Partisan completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 2 June 2015.

Overall comments and recommendations

Under 15 Not suitable due to disturbing themes, scenes and violence

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Partisan
Classification: MA15+
Consumer advice lines: Strong themes and violence
Length 98 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Eleven year old Alexander (Jeremy Chabriel) lives in a secluded compound on the outskirts of a bombed-out town somewhere in Eastern Europe. The compound was built from dilapidated buildings by his Father Gregori (Vincent Cassel) where he lives with Alexander’s Mother Susanna (Florence Mazarra) and seven other women and their children. Gregori is a charismatic head of the household who outwardly loves his children, but in a very controlling way. It is obvious however, that no one dares to oppose Gregori as his temper simmers just below the surface and explodes on occasions.

In order to provide for his family, Gregori trains the older children to shoot with pistols and then sends them out into the town to kill people on a hit list. Alexander does this on several occasions unquestioningly. When a new woman and her son Leo (Alex Balaganskiy) and baby arrive at the compound things start to change. Leo is not a submissive boy and contradicts Gregori too often. Leo and his Mother disappear one night and Alexander realizes that Gregori is lying about what happened to them. This makes him start to question all he’s been brought up to believe in with chilling consequences.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Children as assassins; Communal living; Cults; Power and control;

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • Three boys are trained to shoot pistols at balloons
  • One of the boys shoots paint at one of the women. Everyone cheers and claps.
  • Alexander approaches a man in town, asks his name, and then shoots him with a pistol he has concealed in an arm sling.
  • One of the women chops a chicken’s head off with an axe.
  • Leo kicks dirt into Gregori’s face.
  • Alexander refuses to eat chicken at a meal. Gregori orders him to do so and when he resists Gregori forces it down his throat in a rage.
  • Alexander shoots a man then returns to the scene to see him lying in a pool of blood.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  •  There is much in this movie that would disturb children in this age group.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Children in this age group would also be greatly disturbed by this movie in particular:
    • A child being sent out to shoot people
    • Seeing a chicken get its head chopped off
    • Leo has to spend the night in the chicken coop because he tried to defend the chickens from being killed. No one is allowed to talk to him or bring him any food.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

In addition to the above mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • Gregori tells Alexander a story about when he was a boy and how much he loved a jar of perfume, which was his only memory of his dead Mother. He wants to see if it will burn if he lights it with a match, which it does and then catches on fire. His arm gets burnt during the incident and he tells Gregori that while many things out in the world look attractive (because he had brought home a few small objects) they are in fact very dangerous. He must trust Gregori and ask him for everything he needs.
  • Gregori tells Alexander that he must protect those he loves and destroy anyone or anything that threatens them.
  • It is implied that Gregori has sexual relationships with all of the women. Children might find this confusing.
  • Alexander draws a picture on his Mother’s pregnant belly – it shows himself holding a gun.
  • When Leo and his Mother and baby disappear Gregori calls all of the ‘family’ together and tells them a story about them having just vanished in the night. Alexander knows this isn’t true because he was watching certain events through his bedroom window. They are also now forbidden to mention them again.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

  • Children in this age group would still be disturbed by many of the above scenes as well as the final scene which shows Alexander holding his baby brother with cotton wool in his ears (a precaution he always took before shooting someone) and pointing a gun at Gregori.

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • There is a party one night where all of the women are in their underwear. Gregori is in a pool and one of the women cradles his head in her ample breasts.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • No nudity but many scenes of the women, children and Gregori in brief underwear and bathers.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Gregorio smokes frequently as do some of the women.
  • Drinking at a party.

Coarse language

None noticed

In a nutshell

Partisan is a dark movie, which holds a morbidly fascinating insight into life in a cult. It provides quite a realistic portrayal of existence in a broken down society that greatly contrasts with the innocence of the children in the movie. Its pace is quite slow which makes the sudden acts of violence more shocking. Due to the content of the movie, it is not recommended to children under 15.

The main message from this movie is to look after your own.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their teenagers, attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as.

  • The result of unquestioningly complying with a set of rules without understanding their purpose.

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