The BBFC free App is now available on Android devices. The App lets users check the latest film and DVD classification decisions from the BBFC. A useful tool for parents and guardians, the App gives instant access to the classification,
running time and detailed information about why a film or DVD got the classification it did.
All BBFC film classification decisions come with Extended Classification Information (ECI) which, in the case of cinema films, is available on the App 10 days before the film opens. ECI explains the classification issues in any film, enabling
users to make informed decisions about what they or their family watch.
David Cooke, Director of the BBFC says: We designed the App to equip parents with the tools they need to make informed decisions about the films, videos and video games their children see and play, whether they are visiting the cinema, at home
or purchasing a new DVD or video game. The BBFC is the only film classification body to provide detailed Extended Classification Information and we wanted to make this as accessible to parents as possible.
Each time the App is updated by the user, the classification information is stored on the mobile device making it fully accessible regardless of where the user is, even if they are unable to access mobile internet signal.
The BBFC App is now available for Android, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G and iPod touch.
The way films are censored can tell us much about changing attitudes in society to sex, violence and rebellion.
Enter the hidden world of the British Board of Film Classification's written archive and a hundred years of film censorship are laid bare.
The letters between censor and film-makers begin to take on a life of their own as the relationship develops from regulator to collaborator and beyond.
The board have imposed a rolling 20-year embargo on the written archives.
Correspondence over notorious films like Natural Born Killers or Reservoir Dogs remains under lock and key, but the archive revealed so far shows an ever-changing attitude to the things that have concerned us most over the
past 100 years.
House on the Edge of the Park is a 1980 Italian horror thriller by Ruggero Deodato. See
A couple of weeks ago Shameless reported that it had recently heard back from the BBFC with regard to House on the Edge of the Park.
The BBFC requested 16 cuts totalling 1 minute 20 seconds. While this is a vast improvement over the 11+ minutes of cuts requested in 2002, Shameless are appealing [presumably meaning asking the BBFC to think again rather than invoking the formal
appeals process] the BBFC's decision and will also be including two further extras dedicated to the censorship of the film.
The latest update from Shameless is that the BBFC have agreed to waive 37 seconds of these cuts to the sex scene between Alex and Lisa which had previously been cut due to the questionability of whether or not Lisa is enjoying her ordeal.
House on the Edge of the Park will be available on DVD from 31 October. More details on special features (including those dedicated to the film's censorship history) will be announced soon.
Indeed House on the Edge of the Park has had a difficult history of censorship in the UK:
Passed 18 after 11:43s of BBFC cuts for:
UK 2009 Cornerstone R2 DVD
UK 2002 Protected R2 DVD
The BBFC noted: Cuts required to several sequences of sexual violence, humiliating depictions of female nudity and gross violence
BBFC removed most of the rape and assault scenes
heavily edited the razor-slashing of Cindy
heavily edited the opening murder scene
removed shots of Tony's head being slammed against a table.
Before that it was released on VHS video uncut by Skyline in October 1982. It was listed as a
video nasty in July 1983. It stayed on the list throughout the panic so became one of the collectable DPP39s
And before that, a cinema release was rejected by the BBFC in 1981
Tobacco campaigners have attacked incompetent film regulators and insouciant politicians for failing to act upon evidence suggesting that teenagers are being lured into smoking by seeing it in movies.
The call by the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies for a complete overhaul of film regulation to protect young people from pervasive and highly damaging imagery has been rejected despite what the centre considers compelling
Alison Lyons and John Britton from the centre wrote:
Smoking in films remains a major and persistent driver of smoking uptake among children and young people, which the actions of irresponsible film makers, incompetent regulators and insouciant politicians are abjectly failing to control.
Researchers at the University of Bristol found that 15-year-olds most exposed to films in which characters smoked were 73% cent more likely to have tried a cigarette, and nearly 50% more likely to be a current smoker, than those who watched the
fewest films featuring smoking.
The campaigners call for films that feature smoking to be automatically classified as 18 and to be regarded as dangerous as illicit drugs and violence.
A Department of Culture, Sports and Media spokesman said:
The Government believes the current arrangements provide sufficient control on the depiction of smoking in films and a total ban would be a disproportionate interference. This action would undermine the credibility, and therefore the quality, of
domestically produced films.
The existence of the Game of the Year Edition of Red Dead Redemption was outed by an BBFC rating recently and now Rockstar has officially confirmed its existence and given a release date of 14th October.
This will be the definitive release of Red Dead Redemption including the full original game plus all the downloadable content that has been released for the game. It will also add a new hardcore single player mode.
It was classified by the BBFC as 18 uncut with the BBFC comment that the game contains: Very strong language and strong bloody violence.
The BBFC also noted 128 minutes of video footage contained within the game.
They have the power to ban a film, withdraw an advert or shut down a website. But how do Britain's censors decide what goes beyond the boundaries of good taste? Holly Williams meets the nation's moral guardians
Rebecca Mackay of the BBFC revealed"
We reject the granting of certificates very rarely. Fifty years ago, we were rejecting films that now we might classify as a '15'. Now, we're classifying things with greater potency, because shocking and offending is just shocking and offending.
Fred Langford of the Internet Watch Foundation revealed:
We also took on obscene adult content, so that's anything likely to deprave and corrupt -- which is quite subjective. Because of the shifting landscape, we only act when the content is potentially illegal, and a legal precedent has been set. We
don't see ourselves as censors of the internet. If it's criminal offline, it's criminal online. Simply inappropriate content isn't within our remit.
There's no place for vigilantes searching for this content, but if a member of the public stumbles across it, they can report it on our website. The number of reports vary from 150 to over a thousand, though that would be an unusually busy day.
We have four analysts and a hotline manager.
Louisa Bolch of the Advertising Standards Authority revealed:
More interesting is the stuff around taste and decency, and harm and offence. We ask, is this something the majority are going to find offensive? Or is this something which is going to offend a much smaller number of people, but offend them so
much that actually when you weigh in the balance the advertisers' right to freedom of expression versus the amount of offence it's caused, you say it's too great. That's a really grey area -- we will discuss them for quite a long time. We don't
withdraw adverts lightly; it's a serious business. The meetings can be really good fun, but there's a lot at stake. If it's not clear cut, at the end of the day we have a voting mechanism.
Alison Marsden of Ofcom revealed:
Ofcom isn't a censor; we don't have any powers before broadcast. We have to take into account freedom of expression -- broadcasters' and audiences' rights to impart and receive material. [...BUT...] The counterpoint to that is that,
intervening post-transmission, we have some pretty strong legal powers to impose sanctions where necessary, so there is an incentive for broadcasters to comply.
Our education department is always looking for new ways to expand and improve what we offer to schools, colleges and young people. In the last five years we've started working with school tours operators to give short sessions in our Soho HQ.
We've also installed video conferencing equipment to broadcast lectures for schools unable to visit us in London, and forged links with film festivals, independent cinemas, play schemes and film clubs.
The date of the appeal against the BBFC ban of Human Centipede Part 2 has yet to be set
The BBFC have kindly confirmed that the appeal against the ban on Human Centipede Part 2 has yet to be fixed.
An interview by Tom Six gave the impression that formal appeal had already been heard and lost twice... and that Tom Six was already looking to the High Court for satisfaction.
Presumably in the following except from his interview, Six was using the word 'appeal' in an informal sense, meaning that he had just asked the BBFC (rather than the Video Appeals Committee) to think again.
Here is the original Tom Six wording again:
Offsite: Interview with Tom Six re the BBFC Appeal
Tom Six: Oh, I've got lots of things to say, you can imagine. When I first heard it I wanted to thank them so much for their incredible publicity, but now I'm getting really annoyed. They
didn't agree with our appeal, so it's looking not good, and I'm really angry now, because how can they say to adults you can't watch this film ? It's incredible, and I'm really sad because the UK is the country that gave the world the
black humour of Monty Python and Little Britain, and in my film; part 1 and part 2, there's a lot of black humour. I'm so disappointed they're so humourless.
Q: Do you see the BBFC ban being lifted any time soon?
Tom Six: Well, they have rejected our second appeal, so now the distributor has to go to a barrister or court, I'm not sure how that works, so it looks not very good. The film is not
obscene, a lawyer said that and we have to get a barrister saying that. We have to find a way, I'm fighting my ass off with the distributor to find a way to show the film in the UK.
3D Sex and Zen is a 2011 Hong Kong erotic drama by Christopher Sun Lap Key. See
In the UK it was passed 18 after 2:48s of BBFC cuts for cinema release.
HeyUGuys interviewed the director, Christopher Sun and asked about censorship cuts:
HeyUGuys: In the UK there have been some scenes removed to get it past the classification board. How do you feel about that?
Christopher Sun: It was sad, but it's an honour for us to have the film released in the UK, and we have to respect the censorship. Even when we release a film in Hong Kong, a scene or two actually gets shortened
because of comments from the local censorship board, so we get used to this censorship stuff. We know that we're pushing things to the limits, so that's life...
There is a scene where the Prince of Ning accidentally kills his concubine. That scene is meant to be much longer. I tried to show it with one take, but then we got some advice from the censorship board in Hong Kong,
because of the realism it had, it makes people uncomfortable to see it in one go, so we had to cut it, and take away a scene or two, so the length of the scene is actually shortened.
There is also particular a shot that we cut out here in Hong Kong, and around the globe too. [During an orgy scene, Wei Yangsheng, the film's protagonist] gets quite exhausted, doing that stuff to the women. It came to a
point where he grabs a woman, and squeezes her titty, and breast milk spreads all over his body. A lot of audiences, and censorship boards found that too offensive, so we cut that shot away.
Following on from the BBFC cuts to the 2007 Japanese anime TV series, Ikki tôsen: Dragon destiny , it was announced a few days ago that distribution company Kaze UK has licensed the Mardock Scramble anime
Now that is a brave move as the protagonist is a 15 year old girl who spends much of the first part naked. She is also depicted having sex with an adult, and in a flashback you see her aged 12 having sex with her father. I would assume that the
"dangerous cartoons" provisions of the C&JA 2009 Section 62 would not be an issue here because of the "context" exemption granted by Section 62(4) - it's clearly an action thriller with significant sexual content rather
than a porn movie with action scenes.
But it will be very interesting to see what the BBFC make of it.
The latest batch of classification decisions included the video game, Red Dead Redemption Game of the Year Edition.
It was classified as 18 uncut with the BBFC comment: This digitalmedia contains VERY STRONG LANGUAGE AND STRONG BLOODY VIOLENCE
However it wasn't long before this BBFC website listing was removed.
Commentators are speculating that revealing this decision could be an embarrassing mistake as there seems no other information adverting this new release even though September 16th is not so far away. Perhaps it was meant to be a surprise.
If you're a fan of open-world games, and you haven't yet played this, then this is a must-have title. It is an absolute masterpiece from the makers of the critically acclaimed and controversial GTA series.
At the 15/18 borderline, other considerations come into play. For instance, it is legal for people to have sex once they reach 16, so how can one justify withholding depictions of sexual activity from 16-17 year olds? This
is not to ignore the valid concerns over issues such as teenage pregnancy. But is there any gap between what, for want of a better expression, one might call the real world, and parental and societal expectations?
In practice, the Board tends to base its distinctions and decisions here on a mixture of visual detail - sexualised nudity is acceptable, for example, but not sight of erections - and the intentions behind the scene - is it
there to titillate and arouse, or does it add something to our understanding of the characters and the narrative? That's not to say that a sex scene at 15 can't be arousing, but rather that that shouldn't be its only or primary purpose.
The Earl of Harewood, who died yesterday aged 88, was a first cousin of the Queen and in later years, after growing a beard, bore more than a passing resemblance to his grandfather King George V; but he did not like to be defined by his royal
forebears and his family connections were of no use whatever to him in his chosen career in the media world.
In 1985, he was appointed President of the British Board of Film Classification. During the 1960s he had been very much to the fore in opposing the Lord Chamberlain's powers of censorship of plays on stage and was regarded as a liberal in such
matters.. BUT... Harewood had no doubt that the situation had changed with the production of more explicitly violent films and videos which appeared in the 1970s and 1980s:
When you see concentration camp sex films where women inmates are subjected to gang rape and sadistic torture, it is so unbelievably ghastly that you have to accept there must be some limits to freedom.
Harewood believed there was a proven link between violent films and crime, pointing out that nearly half the favourite films listed by both offenders were in the 18 category, and under his leadership the Board's classification policy
became appreciably stricter. Many videos were banned and large parts of violent mainstream films such as Arnold Schwarzenegger's True Lies were excised.
But Harewood came to feel that the Board was fighting a losing battle. In a report to the Conservative Home Secretary Michael Howard in 1996, the year before he retired from the post, he condemned Hollywood's cynical marketing of violence to
the teenage market. He said:
Those who have loved films all their lives can only lament the current values of a highly successful industry which nowadays teaches violence, glorifies it, and celebrates the rewards it brings, he concluded. The real
solution is for Hollywood to wake up with a conscience. But I have my doubts. There's too much money at stake.
What's it like to ban a film? When I used to deal with asylum cases, the courts said we had to exercise most anxious scrutiny. It's a bit like that, however inexact the parallel. Freedom of expression is a strong
human right, and it always needs a powerful balancing case to justify cuts or bans. The main instrument we use these days is the age classification system rather than censorship. And we've repeatedly found at the BBFC that the public
overwhelmingly believes that, at the adult level, people should be free to choose whether or not to see a film, with only limited exceptions.
Adam Rehmeier's The Bunny Game is one intense and disturbing film.
It features a fearless performance from Rodleen Getsic, who portrays a junkie Los Angeles prostitute who is abducted by a crazed trucker, dragged out to the desert and tortured for three days.
Here's the catch though, everything you see on screen is real. There are no stunts . No fake prosthetics. Rodleen underwent tremendous personal prep to take on this role, transforming her body, fasting for forty+ days prior to shooting.
She takes a real brand, and some very real beatings. None of these people are actors.
The Bunny Game is minimalist, but extremely daring, cathartic, and a spiritual cleansing by fire.
At the moment the BBFC hasn't classified/certified the film, but it should go without saying that this will get a Cert 18. Not sure what cuts might be made to the film, if any. It does open on a very graphic and painful scene of fellatio, which
makes this a prime target for British censors.
The Bunny Game will get an early 2012 release date