The BPI and BBFC, in partnership with Vevo and You Tube, and UK record companies Sony Music UK, Universal Music UK and Warner Music UK, can announce that age ratings are now being displayed on the music videos they upload to digital service
providers Vevo and YouTube.
The age ratings are part of a government-backed pilot by the UK recorded music industry, the BBFC and digital service providers designed to test how age ratings can be applied to music videos released online in the UK, so that family audiences
can make more informed viewing decisions.
The pilot has been running since 3 October 2014. The first phase, which has been successful, saw the three major UK record companies (Sony Music UK, Universal Music UK and Warner Music UK) submit to the BBFC for age rating, any music videos for
release online in the UK for which they would expect to be given at least a 12-rating (videos deemed not to contain content that would attract at least a 12 rating are not submitted*).
If appropriate, the BBFC then issues either a 12, 15 or 18 rating -- in line with the BBFC Classification Guidelines. As part of the ratings process the BBFC also includes bespoke content advice, called BBFC insight, which explains in more detail
why an age rating has been given: for example, that scenes include sexual imagery or other content deemed inappropriate for younger viewers. Once given an age rating, the labels pass on the rating and guidance when releasing their videos to the
two digital service providers -- Vevo and YouTube, who, in turn, will display it when the videos are broadcast online.
The pilot will be evaluated later this year based on consumer research, when consideration will also be given to how the scheme can be applied more widely.
Geoff Taylor, BPI Chief Executive, comments:
We want to empower consumers by giving them useful, advance guidance as to the suitability of the music videos they watch, whilst leaving artists the freedom to fully express themselves. The introduction of age ratings on top of the existing
parental advisory warnings is a key next step by the UK's record labels, working with BBFC, Vevo and YouTube, that will enable families to make more informed viewing decisions.
David Austin, Assistant Director, BBFC comments:
We are very pleased to see YouTube and Vevo displaying BBFC age ratings and BBFC insight for online music videos submitted to the BBFC for classification as part of this pilot. Parents taking part in our most recent review of the BBFC
Classification Guidelines in 2013, expressed their concerns about the content of music videos online, in particular their role in the sexualisation of girls and portrayals of self-harm, drug use and violence in some music video content. We hope
this pilot will provide consumers with information to help guide them and their families when accessing music videos online.
Nic Jones, EVP International, Vevo, comments:
Music videos give bands and artists their best opportunity to express personality and individuality to their fans. At Vevo we fully support their right to freedom of expression in the videos they create. We also recognise our role in being able
to assist music fans, and their families in particular, to be comfortable with their choice of viewing material and its suitability. In turn age ratings will help Vevo become even more valuable to brands, helping them to connect to their desired
Candice Morrissey, Music Partnerships, YouTube EMEA, comments:
Over the last few months, we have been working with the UK's music industry to help them display the BBFC's age ratings on their music videos on YouTube. These are in addition to the controls we already provide on YouTube including the ability
for uploaders to add age warnings to videos and a safety mode to help parents screen out content they do not feel is suitable for their children.
* It is estimated that around 20% of music videos released within the pilot are likely to be subject to a rating -- the large majority are unlikely to contain content that would be rated 12 or greater. This estimate is based on a previous video
catalogue audit of one of the companies taking part in the pilot.
The BBFC is introducing a new Classification Framework for film and video, to filter video and website content available to customers under the age of 12 via mobile networks. The change on the EE networks will take effect from 16th March 2015.
EE restricts access to content classified as 18 and over on its mobile network as default for all customers, but offers three types of settings Off , Moderate and Strict giving customers the option to choose what content
lock is right for them. The new Classification Framework is based on the BBFC's PG standard and will be added to EE's Strict content setting which can be changed on the device at any time.
David Austin, Assistant Director, BBFC said:
We first provided a framework for Mobile Operators to restrict access to content via mobile networks by customers aged under 18, in September 2013. We are pleased to be able to provide an additional Classification Framework for EE, to allow
them to restrict content unsuitable for users under the age of 12. The Framework takes into account the same issues the BBFC considers when age rating a film or DVD and defines content which meets the BBFC's PG Guidelines and is therefore
suitable for those under 12.
The Classification Framework is a living document and will be updated regularly to reflect evolving public attitudes and societal concerns. It has been developed using the BBFC's Classification Guidelines, these are based on large scale public
consultations involving around 10,000 people, and are revised every 4-5 years.
And indeed the rules are strict
sexualised posing, dancing or gestures
sight of sexual activity unless discreet, infrequent and implied only
sight of sex toys and paraphernalia
moderate or crude sex references
nudity in a sexual context
sight of genitals in a work with no apparent educational purpose
sex education and advice which is inappropriate for children aged under 12 (this will include detailed discussion of topics such as abortion or sexual positions and performance)
verbal or visual references to bondage and other BDSM activities
Violence and Threat
moderate or strong violence
emphasis on injuries or blood, gory moments, which may be animated
prolonged or intense frightening sequences
moderate physical and psychological threat and horror
visual or verbal references to sexual violence
Surely a rule such as the clause that bans 'verbal references to sexual violence' would mean that all newspaper websites and perhaps all news site in general would have to be blocked along with daytime TV. The rules don't seem very will
adapted to website usage. There doesn't seem to be any sense of practicality in applying the rules to large websites. Does a single use of strong language in a 12 thousand page website generally useful to kids, mean that the entire site has to be
Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 is a 2015 USA action comedy by Andy Fickman.
Starring Kevin James, Raini Rodriguez and Eduardo Verástegui.
UK: Passed PG for moderate comic violence after 8s of BBFC category cuts for:
2015 cinema release
The BBFC commented:
Company chose to remove a moment of moderate violence (a headbutt) and two sequences of weapons display (knives being opened and twirled) in order to obtain a PG classification. Cuts made in accordance with BBFC Guidelines and policy. An uncut
12A classification was available.
In this sequel, in which Kevin James reprises the role of Paul Blart, the security guard is headed to Las Vegas to attend a Security Guard Expo with his teenage daughter Maya (Raini Rodriguez) before she departs for college. While at the
convention, he inadvertently discovers a heist - and it's up to Blart to apprehend the criminals.
And is the job of the by film censor becoming a little 'political'?
9th March 2015
Hate Crime is a 2013 USA action horror thriller by James Cullen Bressack.
Starring Jody Barton, Nicholas Clark and Greg Depetro.
The film has just been banned by the BBFC for 2015 Horror Show VoD.
The BBFC commented:
HATE CRIME focuses on the terrorisation, mutilation, physical and sexual abuse and murder of the members of a Jewish family by the Neo Nazi thugs who invade their home. The physical and sexual abuse and violence are accompanied by constant
strong verbal racist abuse. Little context is provided for the violence beyond an on screen statement at the end of the film that the two attackers who escaped were subsequently apprehended and that the one surviving family member was released
from captivity. We have considered the attempt at the end to position the film as against hate-crime, but find it so unconvincing that it only makes matters worse.
The BBFC's Guidelines on violence state that 'Any depiction of sadistic or sexual violence which is likely to pose a harm risk will be subject to intervention through classification, cuts or even, as a last resort, refusal to classify. We may
refuse to classify content which makes sexual or sadistic violence look appealing or acceptable [...] or invites viewer complicity in sexual violence or other harmful violent activities. We are also unlikely to classify content which is so
demeaning or degrading to human dignity (for example, it consists of strong abuse, torture or death without any significant mitigating factors) that it may pose a harm risk.'
It is the Board's carefully considered conclusion that the unremitting manner in which HATE CRIME focuses on physical and sexual abuse, aggravated by racist invective, means that to issue a classification to this work, even if confined to
adults, would be inconsistent with the Board's Guidelines, would risk potential harm, and would be unacceptable to broad public opinion.
Of course, the Board will always seek to deal with such concerns by means of cuts or other modifications when this is a feasible option. However, under the heading of 'Refusal to classify' our Guidelines state that 'As a last resort, the BBFC
may refuse to classify a work, in line with the objective of preventing non-trivial harm risks to potential viewers and, through their behaviour, to society. We may do so, for example, where a central concept of the work is unacceptable, such as
a sustained focus on sexual or sadistic violence. Before refusing classification we will consider whether the problems could be adequately addressed through intervention such as cuts.' The Board considered whether its concerns could be dealt
with through cuts. However, given that the fact that unacceptable content runs throughout the work, cuts are not a viable option in this case and the work is therefore refused a classification.
I am honoured to know that my mind is officially too twisted for the UK. So it goes...I find it unbelievable that a film that shows little to no on screen violence and no nudity was actually banned. it just shows the power of what is implied and
peoples imagination; and is a testament to the fact that the same crimes that happen in the world are truly horrifying.
As a Jewish man, and a victim of anti -Semitic hate, I made a horror film that depicts the very thing that haunts my dreams. As an artist I wanted to tell a story to remind us that we live in a dangerous world; a world where racial violence is
on the rise. It saddens me to learn that censorship is still alive and well.
Clocking in at just over an hour, its not an exceptionally long feature film and with it being a low budget production, not all the acting is up to the standards of the Royal Shakespeare Company (so to speak). Also, some of the more brutal
scenes are perhaps more implied than shown (the wife and daughter get to keep their underwear on for the most part whilst being sexually assaulted). But then, many might argue that's a good thing and in any case, does not detract from the
extremely uncomfortable nature of it all.
The film as described in the language of 'outrage' by the BBFC doesn't quite tally with even mainstream film reviews. Well known US film critic Roger Ebert was quoted in an
en.wikipedia.org saying that he gave the film 2.5 stars, saying of the film:
Actually more of a thriller than a social commentary. the film holds our attention and contains surprises right until the end and raises complex moral issues that makes the movie more thought-provoking than we could possibly have expected.
So it would seem that the ban is more about the racist invective, than the portrayal of the violence. And of course there's also the ever important political correctness aspect, that the the film would be unacceptable to broad public
Perhaps it is also relevant to note here that the BBFC has been lobbied by a political group on the subject of the censorship of racism. From an
Danny Stone the director of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism told the Jewish Chronicle:
We welcome this decision [to ban Hate Crime]. We have worked closely with the BBFC over a number of years and are confident they not only have the right systems in place for certification, but a robust position on anti-Semitism and
Could it be that the job of film censor is becoming a little 'political'. The BBFC now has to determine if it is acceptable to depict crimes that are PC sensitive, regardless of the director wanting to highlight the abhorrence of the
racist crime portrayed.
India's Central Board of Film 'Classification' (CBFC) has decided to ban the screening of Fifty Shades of Grey.
The distributors had submitted a pre-cut version with all the nudity missing but this was not enough for the censors. One of the chief executive of the CBFC, Shravan Kumar declined to divulge details as to why the panel refused to approve the
Previous reports suggest that the sexy dialogue was also too much for the censors to bear, particularly as the loony new chief censor is trying to ban strong language in all films.
A source from Universal Pictures talked about how filmmakers tried their best to tone down movie's sex scenes and remove all nudity in direction with the review process in India.
The announcement shouldn't shock Indian movie buffs, as CBFC's latest changing guidelines are all over the news with board posing issues to cuss words, sexually explicit content and words.
Update: Because the appeal options are not yet exhausted the CBFC bizarrely contend that the banned movie is not officially 'banned'
The Central Board of Film Censorship (CBFC) has refuted news that the film adaptation of the erotic novel, Fifty Shades Of Grey , has been banned in India.
Reportedly, the examining committee of the Censor Board recently watched the pre-cut version and claimed it to be too provocative for Indian audiences. Shravan Kumar, CEO, CBFC pedantically tried to explain that this was not an 'official' ban:
Many mainstream films don't get clearance in the first step. The producers can appeal against the decision and go for the revising committee's opinion. Even if the revising committee gives a verdict refusing certification, an appeal can be made
to Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT). The film is in the process of certification and they have to revert to us,
Public concerns seem lifted straight from feminist PC campaign literature. These are then presented as a series of 'factors' that predictably only the BBFC can arbitrate on. The rules are supposed to let websites and ISPs decide for themselves
Research carried out on behalf of the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) confirms public demand for putting certain types of glamour imagery behind adult filters on mobile devices.
The BBFC has been the provider of the Mobile Classification Framework used by Mobile Network Operators in the UK to calibrate their filters since September 2013. This Classification Framework, along with the policies that underpin it, is
consistent with the standards used to classify film and videos.
Very broad patterns about the kinds of images that were thought to be unacceptable for those under 18 are highlighted in the research . An overwhelming majority of participants indicated that images containing sexualised full frontal nudity, sex
acts, or explicit sexual poses were unacceptable. Conversely, images deemed acceptable by the majority of participants tended to depict models who were wearing more clothes, or less explicitly sexualised poses.
Participants in the research showed concern for protecting children aged nine to 13 years old, because they were considered to be the most impressionable. The lack of context for glamour images is also perceived as problematic, in addition to the
nature of viewing content on devices, where parental oversight is less likely and sharing capabilities amongst peers is easy to achieve.
David Austin, Assistant Director, BBFC, said:
The public has given a clear indication of what sort of glamour imagery they would like to see restricted to adults only. We have responded to the research by publishing a policy response which we will apply when considering glamour content
under the BBFC's Classification Framework for mobile content.
Hamish MacLeod, chair of the Mobile Broadband Group, commented:
Mobile operators in the UK have been placing adult content behind access controls since 2005, in accordance with established, independent standards. The BBFC's latest research provides robust and up-to-date evidence to ensure that the standards
used will remain consistent with other media and will continue to meet public expectations
The research reflects wider attitudes around protecting children from inappropriate sexual imagery highlighted in, for example, the independent 2011 Bailey review Letting Children be Children.
The BBFC Mobile Classification Framework, adopted by the UK's four Mobile Network Operators in September 2013, defines content that is unsuitable for customers under the age of 18 and is based on the BBFC's published Classification Guidelines,
which are updated every 4/5 years and based on large scale public opinion research. The last review of the BBFC Classification Guidelines, in 2013, involved more than 10,000 members of the public from across the UK.
The BBFC's policy response to the research (outlined below) covers situations where the BBFC is considering where to draw the line in relation to the classification of glamour content at the adult category or below the adult category, delivered
via mobile networks. The policy takes into account that the content generally features little or no context. The BBFC's consideration is relevant to whether that content sits behind or in front of adult filters operated by the UK's Mobile Network
About the research 'Filtering Glamour Content on Mobile Devices for Under 18 year olds'
The research was carried out by Ipsos MORI on behalf of the BBFC. The methodology of the research comprises an online quantitative survey plus qualitative focus group based research.
The online quantitative survey showed 1,000 participants 30 images and four short video clips. Quotas were in place to ensure participants were a representative spread across Great Britain and includied those with children in their household; 25%
with children at home and 75% without children at home, to reflect the proportion of households in the UK with children under the age of 16 years. The participants were asked whether each should be placed behind an age filter so only 18+ year
olds could access it on mobile devices.
The second qualitative stage of the research comprised of eight single gender mini focus groups in four locations across Great Britain, plus a trio interview. The qualitative stage recruited a mixture of ethnicities, ages, demographics and
lifestages (e.g parents with children at home, non-parents, parents with children who have left home). The focus groups took place in London, Portsmouth, Leeds and Edinburgh.
PUBLIC ACCEPTABILITY OF GLAMOUR IMAGES ON MOBILE DEVICES:
THE BBFC'S POLICY RESPONSE
Research carried out on behalf of the BBFC in 2014 demonstrates that members of the public are concerned by children and young people accessing certain "glamour" content which, in their view, is inappropriate and even has the potential
to cause harm. The public was concerned in particular by glamour content, both still images and videos, that features a sexual invitation and/or an intention to sexually arouse the viewer. The public argued that the sexual invitation may consist
of either one strong sexual element or a mixture of less individually salient elements that combine to make a sexual invitation.
There is support for the use of adult filters to prevent, as far as possible, those under 18 accessing such content.
Some members of the public participating in this research noted the specific nature of viewing content on a mobile device. They considered that the nature of these devices enables children and young people to evade parental oversight, to
decontextualise images and to share them among peer groups. These issues are more problematic in glamour content than other genres, as there is no context or narrative provided for the viewer. Respondents therefore urged the BBFC to take into
account the particular nature of viewing glamour content on mobile devices.
B. The response of the BBFC
The response outlined below covers situations where the BBFC is considering where to draw the line in relation to the classification, delivered via mobile networks, of glamour content at the adult category or below the adult category. This
content generally features little or no context. The BBFC's consideration is relevant to calibrating the filters used by the UK's Mobile Network Operators to restrict access to internet content.
The response does not cover the classification of sex, sex references and nudity in other contexts (for example narrative or documentary films) which may involve richly contextualised material.
The BBFC is unlikely to classify below 18 glamour content, both still images and video, featuring:
A sexual invitation
An intention to sexually arouse the viewer
The following content is unlikely to be acceptable for under 18 year olds to view on a mobile device in a glamour context:
Full frontal nudity in a sexualised manner, or exposure of the genitals
Sexual poses that imply readiness for sex or draw attention to sex organs whether exposed or not, (for example a woman bending over and/or spreading her legs) which heighten the sexual invitation or the arousing nature of an image
Unambiguous sexual fetish themes in an obvious or sustained manner
Beyond these elements, the public remains concerned by the cumulative impact of layering of sexual elements that it wants the BBFC to take into consideration alongside other factors. These include images that:
Play to male fantasies, such as 'girl on girl'
Objectify women and which are primarily about sexual arousal for the viewer, evoking ideas about female exploitation and inequality
Convey an obvious sexual invitation, such as 'come hither', sultry and sexual facial expressions
Feature non explicit but clearly sexual poses
Link sex and with other adult themes, such as drinking or gambling
The BBFC will take account of these factors in considering the classification of glamour material featuring such content.
The BBFC regularly answer questions posted on Twitter. A few interesting answers from last weeks questions and answers session:
Q: #askbbfc why have you banned things like female ejaculation and bdsm? Isn't it a bit sexist
A: There is no list of banned acts, but the Classification Guidelines must follow UK law #askbbfc [no list...except of course... urolagnia... and female ejaculation where there no proof it is female ejaculation...and not to
mention fisting, gagging on blow jobs, BDSM activities resulting in welts beyond trifling, playacting close relatives and many others]
A: We cannot classify material likely to be considered in breach of the OPA - this includes urolagnia #askbbfc
A: If there is no on-screen proof it is female ejaculation & not urolagnia we may not classify it #askbbfc
And another couple of questions are of interest:
Q: Is non-sexual nudity, particularly of nipples, treated differently for men and women and, if so, why? #askbbfc
A: Non-sexualised or natural nudity is classified in the same way regardless of gender #askbbfc
A: Even at U occasional nudity, with no sexual context may be acceptable #askbbfc
Q: If a distributor requests a high-end category, eg 18, will the BBFC rate it accordingly even if the content is lower? #askbbfc
A: A film can only be classified in terms of its content #askbbfc ...
A: So even if the distributor wants an 18, if the content is only 15 level, it will be passed at 15 #askbbfc
A: Film classification decisions must be consistent and reflect the BBFC Guidelines #askbbfc
A: it is helpful for us to know what rating a distributor is aiming for #askbbfc
A: but it makes no difference to the final classification #askbbfc
A: Of all the films submitted with a classification request in 2014, 35% received a different classification #askbbfc
The British Board of Film Classification was today condemned as irresponsible, ill-informed and hypocritical for apparently endorsing the use of cable ties as a relatively harmless form of bdsm play. Experienced practitioners hit back,
claiming cable ties were inherently dangerous and expressing disbelief that the BBFC, which has recently justified censoring bdsm film content on grounds of potential harm, should have been so permissive in respect of a running joke about cable
ties in 50 Shades of Grey, on general release since Friday.
Today, Dennis Queen, co-convenor of Consenting Adult Action Network (CAAN) wrote to the BBFC setting out these concerns in detail, and offering to provide the BBFC with advice on safe bdsm practices for the future. She explained:
I am extremely worried to hear that we're seeing a notable increase in emergencies due to ideas from 50 shades of Grey being tried out.
The BBFC view of what is safe is irresponsible and ill-informed. Apparently they consider 'soft' what many of us who are experienced in consensual bdsm would call dangerous and abusive. At the same time, it bans material which it sees as more
serious, but which is actually safer. We urgently need to challenge this problem before someone is killed.
We need people to know cable ties can be dangerous, and people are getting hurt. if you care for your partner, please don't use cable ties, or anything else which can tighten and injure them. Never tie anyone up in something you can't instantly
get them out of in an emergency, and keep safety scissors handy.
We also cannot emphasise enough that the basis of the relationship in this story is abusive and anyone who attempts to stalk you, or control your life in the way this particular movie explores, should be avoided. We reiterate Women's Aid's call
to get help now if you are in a relationship like this.
There is a thriving BDSM community in this country, so if you fantasise about power games, talk to us for more information about how to play more safely and plan your fun, consensually, as equals.
Commenting on their classification, the BBFC said:
FIFTY SHADES OF GREY only features activities at the milder end of the BDSM spectrum and contains nothing that is likely to present any novel ideas or potential dangers to adults. As such there was nothing to stop the film being classified 18.
In respect of their decision to do nothing in respect of the promotion of cable ties, they added:
The BBFC considers such matters in their overall context, include the amount of detail or otherwise in any depiction or reference: in the context of this particular work we did not consider it either justified or proportionate to make an
intervention at the adult level.
When asked what advice they had taken on the matter from experienced bdsm practitioners, they explained that they have long-standing contact with BDSM practitioners, though it is not known what advice, if any, was given in this instance.
Charlotte Rose, who recently organised a protest outside parliament at the extension of BBFC classification to online material, said:
The BBFC approach on this issue is both dangerous and hypocritical.
The film promotes cable ties for bondage play, while simultaneously failing to give the viewer any education into the very real dangers involved. Yet in discussion of recent legislation giving to ATVOD greater powers to ban dvd's not passed for
viewing by the BBFC, their excuse for much of their censorship activity is that it is necessary in order to protect individuals from potential harm.
Trailers for NEKRomantik 2 and Schramm appear in the latest BBFC database listings
7th February 2015
The BBFC has just recorded 4 related trailers for Jörg Buttgereit films.
NEKRomantik, NEKRomantik 2, Schramm and Der Todesking had all been submitted by Arrow films. Perhaps a box set is on the way.
NEKRomantik has just been released, Der Todesking was released some time ago, but NEKRomantik 2 and Schramm will presumably soon get their first BBFC approved releases in the UK.
Nekromantik is a 1988 West Germany horror by Jörg Buttgereit.
Starring Bernd Daktari Lorenz, Beatrice Manowski and Harald Lundt.
Graphic, low-budget gore-shocker about Rob and Betty, a couple of ordinary necrophiles who apparently don't mind if their dead sexual partners are not so fresh. Rob's job affords him the opportunity to bring home corpses and the odd body part;
when he loses his job, he loses Betty, and Rob's life gets REALLY bizarre.
The Death King is a 1990 West Germany horror drama by Jörg Buttgereit.
Starring Hermann Kopp, Heinrich Ebber and Michael Krause.
Seven episodes, each taking place on a different day of the week, on the theme of suicide and violent death.
Nekromantik 2 is a 1991 Germany horror by Jörg Buttgereit.
Starring Monika M, Mark Reeder and Lena Braun.
The sexy nurse Monika has a problem, she is dragged between two lovers one alive and one dead. The one alive lover is handsome and trustworthy but is he as good in bed as the dead (and rotting) Rob ?
Schramm: Into the Mind of a Serial Killer is a 1993 Germany horror by Jörg Buttgereit.
Starring Florian Koerner von Gustorf, Monika M and Micha Brendel.
Lothar Schramm is a simple man with complex problems, yet he seems like such a nice guy. He works as a taxi driver and lives by himself where he is happy to answer his door to strangers and kill them outright. As with many shy loner types he has
a problem dealing with woman so he drugs them and photographs their nude bodies for sexual stimulation. He then murders his helpless victims and so goes the life of a deranged serial killer.
Andreas Whittam Smith was the editor of the Independent before having a spell as president of the BBFC (at a time when film censorship was lightening up after the departure of James Ferman).
He used his BBFC experience in an opinion piece in the Independent calling for the banning of news footage of the barbaric murder of a Jordanian pilot. He wrote:
That some images can be too horrific to show is also an issue in the classification of films. I was President of the BBFC for five years stretching into the early 2000s. Relevant here are the guidelines for films classified as 18 . The
basic rule is that adults should be free to see what they want to see in the cinema ...BUT... with some exceptions. Revenge is an inescapable urge, but it can never lead to good You don't need to watch a man burning to find it
outrageous We must report the facts, but not be the conduit for gruesome propaganda
Now the sadistic killing of the Jordanian pilot was fact not fiction. Nonetheless the current BBFC guidelines are of interest. Parts of them are indeed relevant to broadcasters and news organisations. They state that exceptions are most likely
where material or treatment appears to us to risk harm to individuals or, through their behaviour, to society . This takes us into the second reason for treading carefully - that we may be causing harm to society, as the BBFC would put
it, by broadcasting Islamic State videos or by publishing them online or by taking stills from them. They are propaganda and propaganda will do its job.
What the BBFC has in mind of course is a very different situation from the Islamic State videos. But the BBFC's list of what it considers harmful to disseminate include the detailed portrayal of violent or dangerous acts, or portrayals of
sadistic violence which make this violence look appealing, or which invite viewer complicity in, harmful violent activities . This is a useful analysis of how harm to society may arise.
So might the videos of sadistic violence distributed by Islamic State appeal to some viewers in Britain or invite their complicity?
The answer is almost certainly that they would do so. After all, it is estimated that as many as 2,000 Britons are fighting alongside Islamist militants in Syria and Iraq.
Fifty Shades of Grey is a 2015 USA romance by Sam Taylor-Johnson.
Starring Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan and Jennifer Ehle.
Literature student Anastasia Steele's life changes forever when she meets handsome, yet tormented, billionaire Christian Grey.
The BBFC has now passed the cinema release as 18 uncut for strong sex.
The BBFC adds in its Insight comment:
The film contains strong sex and nudity, along with the portrayal of erotic role play based on domination, submission and sado-masochistic practices. There are also strong verbal references to such practices and the instruments used.
No doubt the distributors are pleased as US Hollywood films are very restrictive on the amount of sex allowed and there was a fear that the film was heading towards 15 territory.
For comparison, countries have rated the film as follows:
Australia: rated MA15+ (15A in UK ratings terminology) for strong sex scenes, sexual themes and nudity
Canada (Quebec) 16+
Canada (Ontario + British Columbia) 18A
Czech Republic: 15
New Zealand R18 for sex scenes and offensive language
Singapore R21 uncut for mature theme and sexual scenes
South Korea 18
UK 18 uncut for strong sex
US: R rated (17A in UK ratings terminology) for strong sexual content including dialogue, some unusual behavior and graphic nudity, and for language.
Kingsman: the Secret Service is a 2015 UK action crime comedy by Matthew Vaughn.
Starring Colin Firth, Michael Caine and Taron Egerton.
A while ago the BBFC passed the film 15 for strong bloody violence, strong language after BBFC advised pre-cuts for cinema release: The BBFC commented:
This film was originally seen for advice in an unfinished version. The company was informed the film was likely to be classified 18, but that their requested 15 could be achieved by making some reductions in scenes of violence. When the
finished version was submitted for formal classification, reductions had been made and the film was passed 15.
Now Director Matthew Vaughn has denied that changes were made to obtain the 15 rating. From an interview with Den of Geek:
Den of Geek: I should ask you just to clarify the certification of the film in the UK ...
Vaughn: I haven't changed a fucking frame!
Den of Geek: Absolutely nothing? The BBFC posted that certain changes were made prior to submission to get a 15 certificate in the UK ?
Vaughn: Nothing. You've seen it! They're pretty intelligent people, the BBFC. And I think they get it right most of the time. They watched it, and I sat down with them. The violence is fun. You don't see people grimacing. They're
laughing with it. It's like Tom & Jerry. It's over the top and colourful and playful.
Perhaps the inference from this conversation is that there is no uncut 18 version and the 15 rated version will be final.
The British cut of the movie clocks in at 128:34 minutes while the German release has a duration of 129:25 minutes. The difference of 51 seconds is quite large and isn't due to rounding up. Also, logos can most likely be ignored since the
film's sole distributor is 20th Century Fox. Therefore, it's quite possible that the film's UK pre-cuts won't affect other markets.
The Woman in Black: Angel of Death is a 2015 UK horror thriller by Tom Harper.
Starring Helen McCrory, Jeremy Irvine and Phoebe Fox.
The film was passed 15 uncut by the BBFC for strong horror, threat for UK cinema release in 2014.
In the US it was rated PG-13 for some disturbing and frightening images, and for thematic elements.
Now the film's director, Tom Harper, has sharply criticised the BBFC over its decision to give his Hammer horror sequel a 15 certificate.
Harper questioned the grounds on which the classification for the horror sequel was made. Harper told Screen:
Personally, I was disappointed it ( Angel Of Death ) was a 15 There was no blood, no swearing. Obviously, there are some uncomfortable scenes within it. It was always intended to be a 12A.
The director said the filmmakers were presented by the BBFC with a whole long list of - to my opinion - questionable reasons as to why Angel Of Death was made a 15 rather than a 12A, eg one of the moments highlighted by the BBFC was a
lady appears behind a door and a door slams .
The original The Woman In Black, directed by James Watkins and starring Daniel Radcliffe, was certificated 12A in 2011 and its success in attracting a young teenage audience contributed to its becoming the most successful UK horror movie ever at
the British box office. The BBFC received a few complaints that it was a bit scary and so introduced a new rule that even if a film is not violent it can receive a 15 rating for being scary (for eg doors slamming).
The BBFC explained its 15 rating:
There is strong and sustained threat and horror throughout, as people are threatened and attacked by the title character. Much of the threat is towards children and there is sight of both dead children and children who are forced to harm
themselves by the ghost. There are scenes of wartime threat, relating to the Blitz, and nightmare sequences featuring strong threat. There is some impression of blood on bodies and in medical contexts.
Even with the 15 certificate, The Woman In Black: Angel Of Death did strong business at the UK box office and has made an estimated $7m since its release at the start of the year.
Eyebrows raised over BBFC cinema rating just announced for The Duke of Burgundy
13th January 2015
The Duke of Burgundy is a 2014 UK drama by Peter Strickland.
Starring Sidse Babett Knudsen, Chiara D'Anna and Eugenia Caruso.
A woman who studies butterflies and moths tests the limits of her relationship with her lover.
The film has just been passed 18 uncut by the BBFC for sexual fetish theme for cinema releaase.
Some commentators have registered surprise at the 18 certificate as the film has no nudity, strong language, violence or gore. Like the consumer advice suggests, the film seems to be rated 18 just for having a fetish theme.
Perhaps someone is paving the way for an 18 rating for Fifty Shades of Grey , when in fact the tame sex may be worthy of a 15 rating.
An Officer and a Gentleman is a 1982 USA romance by Taylor Hackford.
Starring Richard Gere, Debra Winger and David Keith.
Zack Mayo is a young man who has signed up for Navy Aviation Officer Candidate School. He is a Navy brat who has a bad attitude problem. GySgt Foley is there to train and evaluate him and will clearly find Zack wanting. Zack meets Paula, a girl
who has little beyond family and must decide what it is he wants to do with his life.
In memory of musician Joe Cocker, the BBFC take a look at the film file for An Officer and a Gentleman (1982), which won two awards for its theme tune Up Where We Belong, performed by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes.
The BBFC describes the borderline decision in rejecting a 14 certificate, then awarding a 15 certificate. And then having to fend off a few people who thought that it should have been given an 18 rating.
7 minutes and 12 seconds of compulsory BBFC cuts for
House on the Hill is a 2012 USA crime horror by Jeff Frentzen.
Starring Naidra Dawn Thomson, Shannon Leade and Stephen AF Day.
Based on a true story, HOUSE ON THE HILL is a true crime melodrama with strong horror elements, chronicling the outrageous 1980s murder spree of serial killer Leonard Lake, who would target, kidnap, rob and kill people -- and even whole
families. Sonia, the only survivor of Lake's killing spree, teams up with a private investigator to help him locate a woman who disappeared into Lake's compound. In the process, Sonia recounts the horrors of the house, where Lake and his
accomplice would force her to videotape the killings.
UK: Passed 18 for strong violence, sexual violence after 7:12s of BBFC compulsory cuts for:
2014 Lighthouse Digital Media video
The BBFC commented:
Cuts required to remove or reduce scenes of sexual and sexualised violence. Cuts required in line with BBFC Guidelines, policy and the Video Recordings Act 1984.
Runner Up: Sexy Battle Girls
6 minutes and 50 seconds of compulsory BBFC cuts for
Sexy Battle Girls is a 1986 Japan action film by Mototsugu Watanabe.
Starring Kyôko Hashimoto, Ayumi Taguchi and Yutaka Ikejima.
Mirai, a high school girl, is transferred to an upscale private girls school. She soon finds out the school not only cultivates young minds, but also supplies young bodies to rich politicians. Moreover, the school's headmaster ripped apart her
family. She undergoes special training, and fights her way to sweet revenge!
UK: Passed 18 for strong sex, nudity, sexual violence after 6:50s of BBFC compulsory cuts for:
2014 Salvation Films [Subtitled] video
The BBFC commented:
Cuts required to scenes of sexual violence. Cuts required in accordance with BBFC Guidelines, policy and the Video Recordings Act 1984.
Most Talked About Cuts of 2014: Soulmate
Soulmate is a 2013 UK mystery by Axelle Carolyn.
Starring Anna Walton, Tom Wisdom and Tanya Myers.
Cut by the BBFC for providing details that may assist suicide. Uncut in the US.
Widowed Audrey retreats to an isolated Welsh cabin after a failed suicide attempt, to recuperate. Still haunted by the tragic death of her husband and struggling with her psychosis, she begins to hear strange noises.
UK: Passed 15 for strong violence, gore after 2:33s of BBFC cuts for:
16s of cuts to remove just the vertical cutting details of the suicide but leaving the suicide otherwise in place. This would then have been 18 rated. (Suicide in films for under 18s is a very sensitive area these days).
Deleting the suicide film entirely resulted in a 15 rating.
The BBFC demanded 16 seconds be removed from the two and a half minute scene in order to be granted a rating, but the required edits ended up masticating the opening to such an extent Carolyn decided it would be better to just remove it
entirely rather than risk it coming across as precisely the kind of watered down, almost romanticised portrayal of suicide she was intentionally trying to avoid. As this was by far the most graphic scene of the whole film, without it the
rating ended up downgraded to a 15.
Compulsory Cuts by the BBFC (ie not related to distributor requested category cuts)
9 films and videos suffered compulsory BBFC cuts
Battle Girls: Time Paradox (sexualised cartoon character depicting under 16yo)
Found (erect penis during a scene of sexual violence)
Gun Woman (sexual violence)
House on the Hill (sexual violence)
Ninja: Shadow of a Tear (animal cruelty)
Sexy Battle Girls (sexual violence)
Soulmate (suicide technique)
The Spanish Chainsaw Massacre (sexual violence)
Video Nasties: the Definitive Guide 2 (animal cruelty cuts to a compilation of trailers, not the feature documentary)
The Full 2014 Cuts List
41 (non-porn) films and videos were cut by the BBFC and/or by the distributor in 2014.
Aindhaam Thalaimurai Sidha Vaidhiya Sigamani Battle Girls: Time Paradox
Found Govindudu Andarivadele Gun Woman
House on the Hill
I'm a Porn Star
The Inbetweeners 2
The John Cena Experience Kaththi Kingsman: the Secret Service
The Love Punch
The Maze Runner Mr Fraud My Dog the Champion Naan Sigappu Manithan
Nimirndhu Nil Ninja: Shadow of a Tear
Paul Zerdin - No Strings
Pompeii Poojai Pop Party 13
Pudsey the Dog: the Movie Punjab 1984
Sapthamashree Thaskaraha Sexy Battle Girls
The Spanish Chainsaw Massacre
Step Up: All In
A Tiger's Tail Veeram Video Nasties: the Definitive Guide 2 Viking Adventures From the British Museum A Walk Among the Tombstones
The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet