'How do you entertain when fantasy becomes horrible reality?'

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The Independent US

"The audience for movies will change. It has to change now with these tragedies," says Martin Scorsese, who has done more than most directors to memorialise his home city. "When fantasy becomes a horrible reality, what do you do? I have no idea whether the audience that emerges will be an audience for my films, but the audience is changing."

So far, the movie industry has been more concerned with keeping inappropriate films and trailers off the screens than with rethinking its future direction. Among those postponed, perhaps indefinitely, are the Warner Bros movie Collateral Damage, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as a man who sees his family killed when a Los Angeles skyscraper is hit by a terrorist bomb, and the Disney organisation's Bad Company, which features a suitcase bomb in Manhattan.

Meanwhile, release dates have been brought forward for films more resonant with the prevailing pro-war sentiment in the Unites States focusing on the lot of the ordinary foot-soldier, but which will not necessarily play well with the White House administration.

Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down, based on the disastrous US military excursion in Somalia, will be screened before the end of the year, rather than next spring as originally planned. The same goes for Behind Enemy Lines, a stirring tale of the rescue of a US airman in the former Yugoslavia. We Were Soldiers, a bleak Vietnam drama starring Mel Gibson, is slated for March rather than for summer release.

But the bad news for cinema-goers and politicians alike is that Sylvester Stallone is reportedly planning Rambo IV. Meanwhile, cinema-goers in Britain have been surprised by one glaring inconsistency in the sensitivity over images of New York on screen. Film executives have failed to alter the final scenes of Steven Spielberg's futuristic AI: Artificial Intelligence, starring Jude Law, for the British release.

As the film reaches its conclusion, one of the characters is dispatched to "the end of the world" as viewers witness the vision of Manhattan crumbling and under water.

A decision to show more wholesome fare on the American networks is one reaction to 11 September. The Disney organisation, which owns ABC, announced last week that it wanted to see more "family orientated" programmes commissioned to boost ratings. It is one of the first signs of a rethink to prime time viewing by the big networks after falls in viewer numbers and advertisers in the weeks since the attacks.

The more immediate reaction was, as with film, to censor anything that could be deemed insensitive. Episodes of Friends on Channel 4 have had to be edited to avoid showing the New York city skyline while The West Wing has been subject to censure, with episodes making reference to terrorist plots pulled altogether. One new episode of Friends had to be completely reshot because its action focused largely around an airport and its check-in procedures. The CBS network has been forced to pull a new drama that made a direct reference to Osama bin Laden. One storyline from The Agency revolved around a bomb being planted at Harrods.

In Britain, reaction by television chiefs was, if anything, more extreme. An episode of Emmerdale was changed to remove references to flights and flight attendants. The BBC's home improvement shows were monitored, with one withdrawn for featuring a New York roof garden. An episode of University Challenge was cut from the schedules after it was judged to contain "sensitive questions".

Other decisions were more understandable. On the BBC, an episode of The Simpsons, entitled "Side Show Bob Turns Terrorist", was pulled, while Drop Zone, a thriller about a killer aboard a Boeing 747, was also scrapped. A Timewatch programme on the building of the Empire State Building was postponed by executives a few days after the hijack attacks.

A rap concert to promote non-violence would have seemed a contradiction in terms before 11 September. But the musical genre that is most associated with aggressive lyrics is having to change its ways. The Beastie Boys recently played their first show in more than two-and-a-half years at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom, at a New Yorkers Against Violence benefit, which the rap trio organised. The show also featured Pakistani vocalist Rahat Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

Rap's sudden conversion to both non-violence and internationalism is a direct consequence of the terrorist attacks; it will be interesting to see whether Eminem and other rappers who vocalise violence will rethink their approach.

Music industry sources say that there is a reluctance to release anything that could be thought inflammatory or aggressive at the moment. But it is unlikely that there will be much change in the tone of rap lyrics, which tend to be more about gender politics than international politics.

Musicians have assumed a high profile in raising money for the New York relief funds, especially at the concert in the city which featured Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger and Pete Townshend. Meanwhile, Geri Halliwell and Steps played for British soldiers in the Gulf.

Elsewhere, one very obvious effect of the attacks for the music industry has been some ludicrous bans on airplay on American radio of songs whose titles are allegedly insensitive. Banned tracks included Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water", Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" and The Bangles' "Walk Like an Egyptian". Like some of their movie counterparts, top rock stars have been notable for their nervousness since 11 September. Gloria Estefan refused to open a letter containing an invitation to a charity lunch in New York. Destiny's Child and Janet Jackson have cancelled European tours since the attacks, and rapper Shaggy refused to fly to Britain for a series of gigs.

The video game industry has not given up on its eye-popping diet on guns, explosions and thunderous violence in the wake of 11 September. But it has tweaked it a little bit to avoid accusations of bad taste.

Straight after the attacks, Electronic Arts suspended the release of Majestic, an interactive game in which participants not only receive instructions over the computer but also are subject to threatening phone calls and faxes. The game was eventually reinstated with a new feature, permitting players to decide for themselves how many messages they want to receive.

Other manufacturers have gone back over their products to edit out images of the World Trade Centre. One new game from Konami, called Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, was in danger of having to postpone its launch date while the changes were made, although Konami later said it would meet the deadline.

Microsoft had to rework its Flight Simulator 2002 which, according to advance publicity, was going to be so intricate that players could feasibly re-enact the 11 September attacks.

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