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 Resurrected after years of being banned for blasphemy

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1st February
2012
  

Resurrected...


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Visions of Ecstasy unbanned by the BBFC as a result of repealed blasphemy laws

visions of ecstasyVisions of Ecstasy is a 1989 UK erotic short by Nigel Wingrove. With Louise Downie, Elisha Scott and Dan Fox. See IMDb

It was originally banned by the BBFC for a 1989 Axel VHS . It was the only film banned in the UK solely on grounds of blasphemy.

The BBFC decision was subsequently appealed to the Video Appeals Committee, who upheld the ban. Then director Nigel Wingrove then took his case to the European Court of Human Rights , but again lost his case.

In 2008, section 79 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act abolished the common law offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel. And now the film has been passed 18 uncut for a 2012 4Digital home video release.

But don't expect too much. Director Nigel Wingrove was a bit defensive when talking to the BBFC :

If I made the film now I would make it very differently, I was exploring areas of dark eroticism, but I had worked chiefly in prints, not films.

People say I should put it out, but on a personal level I have reservations. If I did release it, I would need to put it into context and perhaps release a documentary to accompany it.

Visions of Ecstasy DVD The film has now been passed 18 uncut for nudity and sex involving religious images for:

  • UK 2012 4DigitalRedemption R2 DVD at UK Amazon for release 26th March 2012

The BBFC have explained their decision to unban the film in a press release :

Visions of Ecstasy is a 19 minute short film, featuring a sequence in which a figure representing St Teresa of Avila interacts sexually with a figure representing the crucified Christ. When the film was originally submitted to the BBFC in 1989, for video classification only, the Board refused to issue a classification certificate. This decision was taken on the grounds that the publication of the film, which the issue of a BBFC certificate would permit, might constitute an offence under the common law test of blasphemous libel.

The Board is required, as part of the terms of its designation under the Video Recordings Act 1984, to seek to avoid classifying any work that might infringe the criminal law. Therefore, the Board had no alternative at the time but to refuse a classification. The Board's decision to refuse a classification to the film was subsequently upheld by the independent Video Appeals Committee.

In 2008, section 79 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act abolished the common law offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel. This means that the BBFC is no longer entitled to consider whether the publication of the film might comprise a blasphemous libel.

The BBFC has carefully considered Visions of Ecstasy in terms of its current classification Guidelines. These reflect both the requirements of UK law and the wishes of the UK public, as expressed through regular large scale consultation exercises. With the abolition of the offence of blasphemy, the Board does not consider that the film is in breach of any other UK law that is currently in force. Nor does the Board regard the film as likely to cause harm to viewers in the terms envisioned by the Video Recordings Act.

The Board recognises that the content of the film may be deeply offensive to some viewers. However, the Board's Guidelines reflect the clear view of the public that adults should have the right to choose their own viewing, provided that the material in question is neither illegal nor harmful. In the absence of any breach of UK law and the lack of any credible risk of harm, as opposed to mere offensiveness, the Board has no sustainable grounds on which to refuse a classification to Visions of Ecstasy in 2012. Therefore the film has been classified for video release at 18 without cuts.

 

2nd April
2012
  

Updated: Visions of Ecstasy...


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Now resurrected on UK DVD

Visions of Ecstasy DVD Visions of Ecstasy is a 1989 UK erotic short by Nigel Wingrove. With Louise Downie, Elisha Scott and Dan Fox. See IMDb

Passed 18 uncut for nudity and sex involving religious images for:

  • UK 2012 4Digital/Redemption R2 DVD at UK Amazon released today, 2nd April 2012

Previously Banned

Previously banned by the BBFC for:
  • UK 1989 Axel VHS

The BBFC decision was subsequently appealed to the Video Appeals Committee who upheld the ban. The decision was later confirmed by the European Court.

DVD Features

Included with this historic film is a 40 page, booklet written by the films director, Nigel Wingrove, in which he explains how the film came to be made, the effect its banning had on his life and future work, and how his continuing battles against film censorship led eventually to the resignation of the BBFC's then director, James Ferman, the legalisation of pornography and a general relaxations of film classification overall.

Also included on this DVD are the director s first erotic short film, Axel (1986) and his nunsploitation feature, Sacred Flesh (2000), in which a Mother Superior struggles with her sexual desires in a series of imagined dialogues with Mary Magdalene will her mind torments her with images of sexual perversion, lesbianism and sadomasochism. Sacred Flesh was cut by 25s by the BBFC when it was submitted in 2000.

Additional extras include extensive stills, press gallery and interviews.