British film censor re-evaluates guidelines in response to audience feedback…
The British Board of Film Classificiation has recently issued new guidelines after consultation with almost 9000 members of the public. Regarding explicit and graphic sexual images in films such as 9 Songs (directed by Michael Winterbottom), the BBFC found that most people felt such imagery was acceptable for 18 certificate movies, due to “the context in which they appeared”.
Discussing the new guidelines, BBFC director David Cooke said “The BBFC is committed to consulting the public every four years to ensure that the guidelines we use to classify all works which are submitted to us not only take account of relevant U.K. legislation, but accurately reflect public attitudes and concerns”.
However, despite noticing more relaxed public attitude towards sexual imagery, Cooke also noted that “a number of specific concerns… have been incorporated into the guidelines.” This relates to the onscreen depiction of activities such as solvent abuse, with such actions now likely to lead to an automatic 18 certificate.
While there is no indication of the demographics consulted, it is nice to see the BBFC listening to public opinion. I’d still like to see some kind of ‘unrated’ classification, where cuts such as the 3m 15s trimmed from Takashi Miike’s Ichi the Killer could be reinstated for adult audiences, but that seems highly unlikely for the time being.
The BBFC website also includes a searchable database of titles with information on classification decisions and cuts, which you can access here.