The BBFC vs. UK Independent Labels

Milestone, Flicker Alley, Oscilloscope, Cinema Guild...they're all here.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
MichaelB
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

Re: The BBFC vs. UK Independent Labels

#251 Post by MichaelB » Tue Aug 14, 2018 7:42 pm

TMDaines wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 1:15 pm
By all means have film classification, but don’t have a system that has the intention of making large swathes of filmmaking inaccessible to young audiences, rather than letting them and/or their parents use their discretion about what they can watch in the cinema. The BBFC is more than happy to take the money of major studios and censor their garbage until it is palatable, but will otherwise gladly issue certifications with the purpose of restricting viewing. It’s 2018 and we are still stopping teens viewing films for no reason other than the use of the words shit, fuck and cunt. This is the vernacular language of the UK.
Yes, but there's no point berating the BBFC over it. They have very clear guidelines on this, which have been largely unchanged for many years, and the fact that controversies like this very, very rarely flare up (the last big one I can recall was over Ken Loach's Sweet Sixteen, which was something like sixteen years ago) suggests that they're getting the balance more or less right. (And of course Sweet Sixteen's 18 was downgraded to a 15 in parts of Scotland by the relevant local authorities, just as happened with this film in Hull).

You insist that "this is the vernacular language of the UK", but would any of those words be broadcast by any British television channel before the 9pm watershed without any repercussions for the broadcaster? Would a popular tabloid newspaper publish them on the front page - or indeed anywhere inside? You know as well as I do that this simply wouldn't happen - and this has nothing to do with the BBFC: it's part of a much broader public consensus.

User avatar
McCrutchy
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2008 4:57 am
Location: East Coast, USA

Re: The BBFC vs. UK Independent Labels

#252 Post by McCrutchy » Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:20 pm

TMDaines wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:49 am
Still fucking cunts. Hope that's not too much strong language.
I don't really understand McAllister's complaint, here. The Insight in the actual BBFC listing isn't available just yet, but the BBC article mentions that the BBFC found "around 20 uses of strong language" in a 73-minute documentary, which seems perfectly suited to 15 at the national level, and I would expect any film with that much strong language to have some kind of exceptional justification to receive a 12A. However, simply being poor isn't really a justification for continued swearing, no matter how "natural" that is, and it seems like the justification for swearing is simply "raw depiction of poverty", something which isn't even borne out well by the description of the film (Arnott doesn't seem in exceptionally grave circumstances that would somehow justify continued use of strong language, and surely he isn't using it around children), and sounds more like a smokescreen for preferential treatment than anything else. If Hull's local council feels that the film is relevant for 12 and over, then by all means, let them or any other local council overrule the BBFC and issue the lower certificate there, but frankly, from reading this review of the film (which might be of a different cut, as it lists a 79-minute run time), I don't see too much there for kids to be especially concerned with, as it seems much more like a documentary dealing with themes which children do not need to concern themselves about. In fact, I would argue the fact that Arnott works with children is all the more reason to restrict footage of him swearing to older teens and adults.

And in any event, it seems the film will be airing on BBC Two later this year, which is where it is much more likely to reach a wider community (and more children) than in a cinema release, anyway, and McAllister should know this, so the whole thing just feels like bit of a publicity stunt.

User avatar
colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

Re: The BBFC vs. UK Independent Labels

#253 Post by colinr0380 » Wed Aug 15, 2018 1:13 am

TMDaines wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 1:15 pm
I used to listen to the BBFC podcast and that was an insight into their overinflated sense of self importance, and how they viewed their role as central part of the film viewing experience. You’re a censorship board, guys. You’re in existence to appease the conservative elements of society. It’s fucking terrifying how the UK is increasingly forcing ISPs to block online content unless people opt to remove restrictions. Now we’re getting the BBFC involved in that?
I find the podcast an interesting listen, but they really need to change their opening credit sequence with clips from films that only help to reinforce their authoritarianism: "This task has been assigned to us","I said I want the truth!" (Though they recently snipped out the: "You can't handle the truth!" part),"I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit", and so on. Surely they must have recognised those choices, though obviously tongue in cheek, were sending a disturbing message out! At the very least about their lack of self awareness!

User avatar
TMDaines
Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:01 pm
Location: Stretford, Manchester

Re: The BBFC vs. UK Independent Labels

#254 Post by TMDaines » Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:09 am

MichaelB wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 7:42 pm
You insist that "this is the vernacular language of the UK", but would any of those words be broadcast by any British television channel before the 9pm watershed without any repercussions for the broadcaster? Would a popular tabloid newspaper publish them on the front page - or indeed anywhere inside? You know as well as I do that this simply wouldn't happen - and this has nothing to do with the BBFC: it's part of a much broader public consensus.
Well, sure. I think society is incredibly hypocritical and inconsistent with the way we restrict certain media and not others. As a society, we seem to think the suitability of something for children can be measured in the number of fucks, yet we will happily classify all manner of garbage for as suitable for all provided no swearing is in the final edit.

Again, there is no classification for literature, poetry, theatre, even music really is very halfhearted. Film is incredibly strict in comparison and it seems to be a legacy issue where there's never been a critical mass to reflect on whether film - and really audiovisual content alone - should be subject to this in a modern society. In a country still as conservative and prudish as the UK, in large parts, it won't change.

User avatar
tenia
Ask Me About My Bassoon
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:13 am

Re: The BBFC vs. UK Independent Labels

#255 Post by tenia » Fri Aug 17, 2018 8:34 am

TMDaines wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:09 am
Again, there is no classification for literature, poetry, theatre
I would argue that movies are perceived as more openly "mass-market" (especially regarding kids), and thus are more subject to the creation of a stricter classification. Kids are unlikely to spontaneously grab a Sade book, but very likely to try and play GTA or watch the latest Saw movie.
TMDaines wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:09 am
yet we will happily classify all manner of garbage for as suitable for all provided no swearing is in the final edit.
Jack & Jill is only PG, but since when classification should be representative of the humane or cinematographic values of a movie ? The quality of a movie is subjective, the amount of violence isn't, and even so, the BBFC is one of the few classification boards to think beyond the mere objective content (number of swear words, etc, unlike the MPAA) and look at the movie as a whole, which allows them to deviate a bit from their more rigid grid of rating.
TMDaines wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:09 am
Well, sure. I think society is incredibly hypocritical and inconsistent with the way we restrict certain media and not others. As a society, we seem to think the suitability of something for children can be measured in the number of fucks
My issue with your reasoning here is that the classification seems like a very strict tool to ensure children don't see these movies. It isn't, at least not in the UK. If you think your kid can go and see it, you can make that happen. The classifications are there to make sure that stupid parents who don't care enough to look at what their kids might see can have a rough impression of whether they can bring their 8yo to Bad Santa.
It's a guideline for parents, not a curfew for kids.

Mind you, I couldn't care less about ratings as a whole, because I'm lucky enough to know and read about what I'm seeing or showing to know roughly their contents and who can watch that. I also understand your point about how, in a way, they reflect a certain hypocrisy from society.
But when you go with a 5yo seeing King Kong and that the kid ends up a bit shaken, well... that's your own fault, not the society's, not the BBFC's, but that's precisely the situations classifications aim to avoid. The BBFC King Kong case study actually explicits that in the simplest way :
"The couple of letters received stated that parents had taken some very young children (from 3 - 8 years old) who found some of the intense scenes a little distressing - which is not that surprising given the 12A rating."
Duh.
But it also shows that these ratings do have a meaning, and that 5 yo kids are likely to be fazed by a 12A rated movie.

And I'd certainly be wary of linking the BBFC ratings to something like "In a country still as conservative and prudish as the UK, in large parts", which seem like an excessive generalisation to me.

User avatar
Mr Sausage
Not PETA approved
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Canada

The BBFC vs. UK Independent Labels

#256 Post by Mr Sausage » Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:24 am

tenia wrote:
TMDaines wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:09 am
Again, there is no classification for literature, poetry, theatre
I would argue that movies are perceived as more openly "mass-market" (especially regarding kids), and thus are more subject to the creation of a stricter classification. Kids are unlikely to spontaneously grab a Sade book, but very likely to try and play GTA or watch the latest Saw movie.
They’re likely to spontaneously grab a Steven King novel, tho’, or a Michael Crichton one.

My local library wouldn’t let you borrow R rated movies, tho’ you could borrow any book you wanted. Weirdly, they went by the American rather than Canadian rating (perhaps because it was more reliably on the back?), which led to some contradictions. For instance, I wasn’t allowed to borrow Hitchcock’s Psycho at 17 because the US rating on the back of the VHS was R, even tho’ the Ontario government had by that time rated the film PG. And yet, 10-year-old me had been able to borrow the novel Psycho from that same branch. So as a near-adult I was not allowed to watch a movie the government had deemed well below my age limit, but as a child could read a book that by any measure should not be in the hands of kids (I remember vividly the scene of Norman peeping on Marion and becoming aroused as he repeatedly called her a bitch).

Even my parents were not immune: they weren’t especially strict, but they had limits. They weren’t happy with me watching Predator, a movie whose violence is fantastical, but had no trouble with me repeatedly reading their copy of Douglas Preston’s The Hot Zone, a book whose graphic and detailed depictions of people turning to soup from ebola were all too real. My mom even helped me put together a presentation on the book for a grade 6 assignment.

I’m sure, too, as a 13-year-old they wouldn’t’ve wanted me seeing graphic sex scenes in r-rated movies, but didn’t seem to care I was reading the pornographic explicitness of Michael Crichton’s Airframe.

I think all this is cultural. We have much different fears and concerns when it comes to literature now. Societies tend to think of it more as a medium of ideas and concepts than of visceral experience. When books are attacked or banned these days, it’s less often for the appropriateness of their descriptive content ala the Joyce and Burroughs trials than what the book’s content represents: racial or religious or political ideas this or that community finds objectionable.

Perhaps it has to do with the lack of control mass media suggests. Music is feared and regulated for its words when poetry is not, tho’ they are the same. But for the most part one book only influences one reader at a time, and for a while at least was limited to something very controllable: a physical copy. But music can be heard by groups all at once; many friends can hear it at one friend’s house; it’s on radios, tv, now the internet. It spreads as an intangible, uncontrollable influence. It reaches widely. That scares parents and more conservative people. And because music and to a lesser extent movies, tv and video games are perceived as visceral experiences rather than intellectual, there’s a lot more to fear about their influence, which is ill-understood and therefore easier to attribute all sorts of dark and surreptitious effects to. Next to that, most people don’t care what their kids are reading; they usually say: “ well at least she’s reading.”



User avatar
tenia
Ask Me About My Bassoon
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:13 am

Re: The BBFC vs. UK Independent Labels

#257 Post by tenia » Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:52 am

Fair enough exemples about books.

Maybe culturally speaking, we have less issues with words than pictures, because we find pictures more instantly impactful, which would also explain (partially) why music can get some slack despite being already a step ahead of books (because the more collective possibility vs individual experience), while movies and VG are considered more impactful.
So you can read Psycho, because you have to mentally project what you're reading, but can't watch the movie because it can be gorier or scarier than your own projection.
Indeed, it might boil down to how visceral the experience of the different medias can be.

User avatar
Mr Sausage
Not PETA approved
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Canada

Re: The BBFC vs. UK Independent Labels

#258 Post by Mr Sausage » Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:04 pm

tenia wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:52 am
Fair enough exemples about books.

Maybe culturally speaking, we have less issues with words than pictures, because we find pictures more instantly impactful, which would also explain (partially) why music can get some slack despite being already a step ahead of books (because the more collective possibility vs individual experience), while movies and VG are considered more impactful.
So you can read Psycho, because you have to mentally project what you're reading, but can't watch the movie because it can be gorier or scarier than your own projection.
Indeed, it might boil down to how visceral the experience of the different medias can be.
I'm sure that's part of it, but the hysteria around music has always been as great or greater than that around movies. Music (along with video games) has been routinely blamed for atrocities or tragedies in the last several decades (Judas Priest, Marilyn Manson, Slayer, etc.). And there were the PMRC hearings in the United States that lead to the record industry agreeing to put parental warnings on CDs. Let's not forget the whole "subliminal messages" scares.

The counter argument to some of what I said is comic books. I don't know if anyone much cares about them now, but there was a long while i the States (and maybe elsewhere) where there was a big scare about their influence on young people, especially the influence of horror comics. They belie my "one book, one person" claim, although again it's been a while since I heard of anyone complaining about them. Dunno. I'd write more but I have go to go.

User avatar
colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

Re: The BBFC vs. UK Independent Labels

#259 Post by colinr0380 » Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:17 pm

The thing with literature in the UK though is that they were the subject of attempts to ban until the obscenity trial of Lady Chatterley's Lover in 1960 set a precedent for freedom of the written word, and the same "tendency to deprave and corrupt" is still how film would be judged in obscenity trials to this day (it was how the video nasties in the 1980s were tackled). I do think the BBFC is rather too strict, especially in the internet era (at least until the internet gets banned at some point!), but I would rather an independent body did this than the government itself, as all of the furore over Crash (and various media outlets wanting to turn it into a political issue) showed.

I think though that classification and providing as much information as possible for audiences (especially parents) to judge films by is well worth doing. Even if the new problem that arises in BBFC extended classification is that they often highlight that a film contains "a scene of suicide/attempted suicide", which is understandable for those who may not want to have to face the shock of seeing such a thing, but also kind of fundamentally ruins a big moment in a film!
SpoilerShow

User avatar
Mr Sausage
Not PETA approved
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Canada

Re: The BBFC vs. UK Independent Labels

#260 Post by Mr Sausage » Fri Aug 17, 2018 4:57 pm

Same in the States: the obscenity trials for Joyce, Burroughs, and Henry Miller in the 60s toppled the censorship of literature. It seems to’ve changed the public attitude towards books in terms of things to protect society from.

User avatar
thirtyframesasecond
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2007 1:48 pm

Re: The BBFC vs. UK Independent Labels

#261 Post by thirtyframesasecond » Fri Aug 17, 2018 5:24 pm

TMDaines wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 1:15 pm
By all means have film classification, but don’t have a system that has the intention of making large swathes of filmmaking inaccessible to young audiences, rather than letting them and/or their parents use their discretion about what they can watch in the cinema. The BBFC is more than happy to take the money of major studios and censor their garbage until it is palatable, but will otherwise gladly issue certifications with the purpose of restricting viewing. It’s 2018 and we are still stopping teens viewing films for no reason other than the use of the words shit, fuck and cunt. This is the vernacular language of the UK.

I used to listen to the BBFC podcast and that was an insight into their overinflated sense of self importance, and how they viewed their role as central part of the film viewing experience. You’re a censorship board, guys. You’re in existence to appease the conservative elements of society. It’s fucking terrifying how the UK is increasingly forcing ISPs to block online content unless people opt to remove restrictions. Now we’re getting the BBFC involved in that?

After the farce that is The Hundred, forgive me for not blindly following the consultation of parents as a positive move for any industry.
I don't even know if the ECB actually found any parents who thought the Hundred was a good idea tbh.

User avatar
TMDaines
Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:01 pm
Location: Stretford, Manchester

Re: The BBFC vs. UK Independent Labels

#262 Post by TMDaines » Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:38 am

tenia wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 8:34 am
TMDaines wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:09 am
yet we will happily classify all manner of garbage for as suitable for all provided no swearing is in the final edit.
Jack & Jill is only PG, but since when classification should be representative of the humane or cinematographic values of a movie ? The quality of a movie is subjective, the amount of violence isn't, and even so, the BBFC is one of the few classification boards to think beyond the mere objective content (number of swear words, etc, unlike the MPAA) and look at the movie as a whole, which allows them to deviate a bit from their more rigid grid of rating.
Yes, it is subjective. I am asking the philosophical question of why. When we take a step back and look at all manner of stuff that is not deemed suitable for 13-year-olds due to a bit too much swearing, and look at some of the inane crap that is classified as suitable, it makes you ponder. I'd rather have a challenging education than a facile one.

I can't be the only person who would be far more vested in my future kids reading and watching "good stuff", especially in my presence, than a random sampling of the multiplex crap at PG and 12A, even if the BBFC would look down on my parenting with their sanctimonious airs and graces.

User avatar
tenia
Ask Me About My Bassoon
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:13 am

Re: The BBFC vs. UK Independent Labels

#263 Post by tenia » Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:43 am

But again : it's not correlated ! There are also very good stuff that is rated PG or 12, just like there are bad 15 or 18 movies.
You want to show good 15 stuff to your kids ? Go ahead and do it ! There isnt much preventing you to do it in the UK.

User avatar
Big Ben
Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2016 12:54 pm
Location: Great Falls, Montana

Re: The BBFC vs. UK Independent Labels

#264 Post by Big Ben » Sat Aug 18, 2018 11:51 am

There are occasionally some ratings from the BBFC that make me raise an eyebrow but it's rare. For instance Carpenter's Halloween was given an 18 rating for "Strong Horror, and Threat". Surely that's a subjective element? Speaking of actual content aside from breast nudity I don't think Halloween doesn't have anything that's remotely too much even for the puritanical American Television. It almost feels like a outlying provision decided this to me but I'm entirely unsure if such a provision does exist.

User avatar
Michael Kerpan
Spelling Bee Champeen
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:20 pm
Location: New England
Contact:

Re: The BBFC vs. UK Independent Labels

#265 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sat Aug 18, 2018 12:35 pm

Big Ben - Halloween caused ongoing terror to my wife and I for months after we saw it -- in our latter 20s....

User avatar
colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

Re: The BBFC vs. UK Independent Labels

#266 Post by colinr0380 » Sat Aug 18, 2018 2:52 pm

It is interesting that certain films have their ratings changed just by the changing mores of the times, but which only happens when they are resubmitted again for another home video release (i.e. the Board get paid to do the work). This can be either up or down. For instance Jaws was recently classified up from a PG to a 12A with the BBFC podcast talking about the way that it was left at PG for so long because it came out before the existence of the 12 rating and later on was considered a 'known quantity' as such a high profile release to really require potentially confusing reclassification (which is also the reason why Watership Down remains a U since its last submission for classification in 2005, but is apparently going to be upped to a PG whenever it next comes before the Board), but that recently it was decided to move it up, apparently as much due to the marijuana smoking at the opening as the shark attacks themselves!

On the other hand The Terminator was classified down from an 18 to a 15 in the year 2000!

There are also the rare cases of films getting multiple classifications, though apparently the Board is really against this because of the potential confusion it would cause (so in the UK we did not really have the 'Rated' and 'Unrated' versions of things like the American Pie films and the films that followed in its wake that did the same thing, since everything has to get rated. There were often 'extended' versions which were the 'unrated' versions repackaged for the UK but they usually all ended up 15 as standard anyway). But I do remember an exception to this rule being the Brendan Fraser Mummy film getting a cut 12 rating at the cinema and VHS and a fully uncut 15 rating due to its hanging scene (and in particular the hero showing no ill effects from the experience afterwards apart from a slightly sore neck). I think DVD being seen as more of a 'collector's' medium and less a general audience one as VHS still was at the time factored into that decision, which of course would not be the same now.

User avatar
MichaelB
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

Re: The BBFC vs. UK Independent Labels

#267 Post by MichaelB » Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:03 pm

Big Ben wrote:There are occasionally some ratings from the BBFC that make me raise an eyebrow but it's rare. For instance Carpenter's Halloween was given an 18 rating for "Strong Horror, and Threat". Surely that's a subjective element? Speaking of actual content aside from breast nudity I don't think Halloween doesn't have anything that's remotely too much even for the puritanical American Television. It almost feels like a outlying provision decided this to me but I'm entirely unsure if such a provision does exist.
There’s a fairly graphic sex scene, as I recall. I certainly don’t have an issue with it getting an 18, which seems completely appropriate given the subject.

Put it like this, I’ve been showing my fifteen-year-old son a handful of early John Carpenters, but I want to have another look at Halloween myself before showing it to him.

User avatar
Mr Sausage
Not PETA approved
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Canada

The BBFC vs. UK Independent Labels

#268 Post by Mr Sausage » Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:07 pm

Big Ben wrote:There are occasionally some ratings from the BBFC that make me raise an eyebrow but it's rare. For instance Carpenter's Halloween was given an 18 rating for "Strong Horror, and Threat". Surely that's a subjective element? Speaking of actual content aside from breast nudity I don't think Halloween doesn't have anything that's remotely too much even for the puritanical American Television. It almost feels like a outlying provision decided this to me but I'm entirely unsure if such a provision does exist.
It’s interesting: Raiders of the Lost Ark has considerably more blood and gore than the almost entirely bloodless Halloween, yet has always been rated for children whereas Halloweencontinues to get very high ratings even today. Somehow ratings boards never seem to find Halloweenbecoming tamer over time. To be fair, the movie is terrifying, and a scene of a child murdering their adult sister remains strong stuff. Indeed I don’t wonder if that first scene accounts for most of the ratings boards’ worries.

EDIT: I’ve always found the sex scene in Halloween very tame. It mostly happens just out of frame.

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: The BBFC vs. UK Independent Labels

#269 Post by domino harvey » Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:10 pm

I taught Halloween to high schoolers (with a permission slip for it and the other two horror movies we studied for an elective mini-course), and yes there's nudity but it's really not that graphic. I think it's appropriate for a mature fifteen year old

User avatar
Mr Sausage
Not PETA approved
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Canada

Re: The BBFC vs. UK Independent Labels

#270 Post by Mr Sausage » Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:51 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:10 pm
I taught Halloween to high schoolers (with a permission slip for it and the other two horror movies we studied for an elective mini-course), and yes there's nudity but it's really not that graphic. I think it's appropriate for a mature fifteen year old
Why did you choose Halloween (and what were the other two)?

User avatar
tenia
Ask Me About My Bassoon
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:13 am

Re: The BBFC vs. UK Independent Labels

#271 Post by tenia » Sat Aug 18, 2018 5:13 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:07 pm
It’s interesting: Raiders of the Lost Ark has considerably more blood and gore than the almost entirely bloodless Halloween, yet has always been rated for children whereas Halloweencontinues to get very high ratings even today. Somehow ratings boards never seem to find Halloweenbecoming tamer over time. To be fair, the movie is terrifying, and a scene of a child murdering their adult sister remains strong stuff. Indeed I don’t wonder if that first scene accounts for most of the ratings boards’ worries.
I recall similar discussions around some latest James Bond movies, whose bodycounts can go into the 200s but still are classified quite low. But then, there's always the question of how realistic it looks. Usually, fantasy-backed movies can get lower classifications because it reduces the projection one can get.

However, overall tenser tones will obviously yield higher classifications. For instance, think about how Alien is a relatively non-graphic movie, but still, it can be extremely impacting despite that. I remember seeing it for the first time when I was 16, during a bright afternoon, and it still had a huge impact on me.

The BBFC case study for Dunkirk exemplifies this more contextual element quite well. One can compare that to the Cloverfield one and understand how relatively un-graphic movies can yield different classifications.
Big Ben wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 11:51 am
There are occasionally some ratings from the BBFC that make me raise an eyebrow but it's rare.
I'm usually more bothered by obvious classifications details, like King Kong having scenes that can "frighten the youngest audience".

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: The BBFC vs. UK Independent Labels

#272 Post by domino harvey » Sat Aug 18, 2018 5:48 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:51 pm
domino harvey wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:10 pm
I taught Halloween to high schoolers (with a permission slip for it and the other two horror movies we studied for an elective mini-course), and yes there's nudity but it's really not that graphic. I think it's appropriate for a mature fifteen year old
Why did you choose Halloween (and what were the other two)?
Anguish and Triangle. I chose Halloween because I wanted a slasher movie so the beginning of Anguish would have some context and because of the huge part these films played in modern horror Cinema, but my go-to choice Slumber Party Massacre was just way too gratuitous in a manner I couldn't justify for younger audiences. Halloween actually ended up going over poorly and was met with polite discussion in opposition to the other two films I screened-- I think my students were already jaded thanks to the films it inspired. If I could go back I'd probably forget the slasher angle and replace it with a teen focused non-slasher horror film like the Faculty. I'm also well aware Anguish and Triangle are two of the most on-brand selections for me to choose in the first place!

User avatar
TMDaines
Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:01 pm
Location: Stretford, Manchester

Re: The BBFC vs. UK Independent Labels

#273 Post by TMDaines » Wed Aug 22, 2018 5:54 am

One thing that's not been mentioned here is that nowadays a significant number of mainstream films from the major studios are cut to obtain a specific classification in the UK (thereby engaging in censorship) and that cut version ends up being on the DVD or Blu-ray too. The Hunger Games is one example where the original film has never seen any official UK cinema release (happy to be corrected if it has) and the majority of the home video releases have been the cut version too.

Another example would be The Equalizer which was cut to get a 15 instead of an 18 and has never had an uncut release in the UK, in either the cinema or on DVD/Blu-ray.

It's pathetic that you have to research UK home video release from any non-boutique label to check that they've not cut a work in search of a more lucrative classification certificate. This is a natural consequence of the system the BBFC adopts where it is happy to encourage the censorship of art for the betterment of the bottom line.

User avatar
tenia
Ask Me About My Bassoon
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:13 am

Re: The BBFC vs. UK Independent Labels

#274 Post by tenia » Wed Aug 22, 2018 6:22 am

I often reads Movie-censorphip.com and yes, I've seen this kind of cut for lower UK ratings almost on a weekly basis : The Equalizer 2 has been cut in the UK to secure a 15, while Red Sparrow just got released on video in the UK with its censored cut. I also remember about The Avengers having the Loki / Coulson scene altered in the UK to tone down the graphic violence in both the theaters and the video releases, and I definitely remember seeing the difference and wondering if I dreamt it or not (because it seemed like such a little detail).
The 3 Maze Runner were also cut in theaters and on DVD, but not on BD. Brawl in Cell Block 99 was also cut but only in theaters.
It seems like the majority of the time, it has to do with toning down gore and violence.
TMDaines wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 5:54 am
This is a natural consequence of the system the BBFC adopts where it is happy to encourage the censorship of art for the betterment of the bottom line.
I understand this is a silly situation, but the arguments need to be made in a neutral manner, not in such an obviously biased way. You're shifting the blame because you obviously think the BBFC system is flawed to death and that anything linked to BBFC ratings (or possibly just ratings) is the ratings' fault.

"Censorship of art" and toning down the gore in The Equalizer 2 ? What art ? The simple fact the studios are prioritising cutting the movie over making less money is making quite obvious how this is just a filler consumable products, far removed from any artistic consideration (and this is without discussion the artistic merits of the cut bits). Actually, I'm not even sure independant movies are cut this way (all the above exemples are from big studios).

Maybe the issue rather lies with the studios who don't care about their movies' integrity and prefer to cut them without hesitation just to secure a lower rating, because they didn't even realise what they greenlit would get this kind of ratings in the first place.


We've had a recent case in France with Green Room. Wild Bunch paid a lot to buy the movie, and expected not to be rated 16+ thanks to their connections with people working in the classification board. Except they didn't, because the movie is a clear 16+ as such, and they had to discreetly cut the goriest shots to secure a "12+ with warning" rating. But the movie tanked anyway, and the lower rating had basically no effect whatsoever on the BO. In the end, the distributor ended up re-editing the movie for no result, just because they mis-apprehended the rating the movie it would get, but the rating board doesn't have to do anything with it.
They finally released the movie uncut on BD (the DVD is still cut), advertising it as a "director's cut" and with a 16+ rating. Why did this happen ? Well, because Wild Bunch paid a lot for Green Room, expecting not to get a 16+ rating because they have connections within the classification board... except it didn't work...
In the UK, the movie was passed 18, uncut. Simply.

The funniest is that these people went on to create The Jokers (another distribution company) and showed the exact same incompetence with Brimstone, for which they paid a lot when everyone was telling them not to pay so much, because the movie would get a 16+ rating... and it did get a 16+ rating. At least, this time, they released it uncut.
Last edited by tenia on Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

Re: The BBFC vs. UK Independent Labels

#275 Post by colinr0380 » Wed Aug 22, 2018 11:53 am

Apparently the recent Eli Roth remake of Death Wish with Bruce Willis was also cut in theatres for a 15, but will come out uncut 18 on disc.

On TMDaines's comment the other thing that causes confusion is that because these films have 'taken advice' from the BBFC and 'pre-cut' before submission (usually to obtain a desired lower rating) they can often be labelled as "passed without cuts" in the official BBFC documentation, because it already happened unofficially!

Post Reply