The Combination, a new Australian film chronicling ethnic violence in Sydney, has been pulled from Sydney screens due to ethnic violence at the showing of the film.
The movie chronicles a contemporary Lebanese family in urban Australia. According to the synopsis,
John Morkos (George Basha) is released from prison intent on a new life, free of his old ways. But he finds his younger brother Charlie (Firass Dirani) being lured by the local underworld. George’s demands to stay clear of crime fall on deaf ears — Charlie has no respect for the former crim.
In the thrall of gang leader Zeus (Ali Haidar), Charlie’s life oscillates between the schoolyard punch-ups and the gangland streets of his neighbourhood. When John meets Sydney (Clare Bowen), a local Aussie girl, and finds a job at the local boxing gym his life is challenged in unexpected ways. But Charlie’s continuing descent into the world of crime places the his whole family in harms way forcing John to risk his new life to right his younger brother’s wrong.
The movie has been dumped by Greater Union cinemas in Sydney after two incidents compromised the safety of staff and moviegoers. On Thursday a security guard was hospitalized after being attacked by a group of thirty people watching the film, and on Saturday, a further brawl broke out at a showing of the film.
To complicate matters further, one of The Combination’s stars has been sentenced to almost six months in jail for a violent assault similar to that depicted in the film.
The irony ends there though, and we get to the response about the movie being withdrawn, which is actually predictable.
Meanwhile film’s writer and actor, George Basha, who plays a Lebanese-Australian fresh out of jail, said the decision to pull the film was “discriminatory”.
Although the ethnicity of the alleged attackers was not named by the media, Keysar Trad, named by local media as a spokesperson for a section of the Australian Muslim community, called on the violence to stop.
“I have a message for some of these young people causing problems: You are hurting a film that is made by members of your own community.