Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Overall change in BBFC history

  • Guidelines have become specific, official and publicly available and approved
  • Age ratings for both cinematic and home entertainment have become more prolific, covering smaller age brackets
  • The BBFC has become more responsible and accountable - now rating cinematic films, home release and video games
  • The change and development through a variety of different Presidents and Directors have meant more leniency on film as an artistic expression
  • Increasing acknowledgment of the 'media sophistication' of (young) audiences allowing more films to be passed uncut as the possible effects of film are known and therefore are more sensibly treated

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

History of BBFC: 2000s

Wider social/political/cultural issues:
  • Vast increase in controversal European films caused concern in BBFC - fortunate relax of attitudes towards sex
Key films and issues they raised:
  • The Idiots (von Trier, 1998) normally cut but sexual activity brief and serious intention to film
  • New policy on sex references challenged in Baise-moi (Despentes, 2001) as explicit but also contained rape scene
  • Spiderman (Raimi, 2002) decision to make it 12 was overruled by some local councils as it was a family film - led to construction of 12A rating
  • 9 Songs (Winterbottom, 2004) was criticised as 'the most sexually explicit film in British cinema', but passed '18' uncut as no discrimination of English/foreign language films and uncut European films had similar standard of controversy
  • Shortbus (Mitchell, 2006) contained explicit images of real sex and received '18' certificate. French (The Observer) commented 'brought close the abolition of censorship but not classification'

History of BBFC: 1990s

Wider social/political/cultural issues:
  • Jamie Bulger case called for stricter standards on home video
  • Rapid development in digital media (e.g. computer games becoming more realistic)
  • Emphasis changed from preventing 'unusual weapons' to easily accessible weaponry (e.g. knives)
Key films and issues they raised:
  • Natural Born Killers (Stone, 1994) provoked most controversy at time of the harm effects debates
  • Kids (Clark, 1995) described as 'child pornography' so board had to find age of actors - only minor cuts made to 'indecent' scenes of younger actors under Protection of Children Act

History of BBFC: 1980s

Wider social/political/cultural issues:
  • Development of video recorder created anxiety of home viewing (no legal classification requirement)
Key films and issues they raised:
  • The Krays (Medak, 1989) passed due to known infamy of gangland characters (actions not justified) however cuts to horrific mutilation scene
  • The Evil Dead (Raimi, 1982) had 49 seconds of cut when brought in as video nasty

History of BBFC: 1970s

Wider social/political/cultural issues:
  • Backlash against idea liberalisation went too far
Key films and issues they raised:
  • Concern over sexual violence/rape in A Clockwork Orange (Kubrick, 1971)
  • The Exorcist (Friedkin, 1973) accused of blasphemy and danger of psychological damage to children
  • Trash (Warhol, 1970) was a key fight for BBFC to defend minimal cuts against anti-censorship campaigners
  • Emmanuelle (Jeackin, 1978) extra cut demanded as despite not explicit, overall film breached Obscene Publication Act in terms of corruption due to rape scene appearing just

History of BBFC: 1960s

Wider social/political/cultural issues:
  • Liberalisation - increased tolerance of explicit refences
Key films and issues they raised:
  • Peeping Tom (Powell, 1960) ignored suggested cuts due to 'morbid concentration on fear' and failed to please public
  • Alfie (Gilbert, 1966) compared to Victim (Dearden, 1961) passed uncut, contributing to the sexuality debate - increasing public tolerance
  • The Trip (Corman, 1967) reignited fears of drugs and was banned due to showing both 'delights and drawbacks' of LSD - only reclassified 18 in 2002

History of BBFC: 1950s

Wider social/political/cultural issues:
  • End of rationing
  • Emergence of 'youth' as a social group - issue of juvenile delinquency (mods/rockers)
  • Growth of television as family entertainment - eroding audience in cinema
  • Moral panic about drug taking
  • Last capital punishment (Ruth Ellis) in UK (1956)
Key films and issues they raised:
  • Rock Around the Clock (Sears, 1956) & Rebel Without A Cause (Ray, 1955) fuelled concerns over teenage criminality
  • The Wild One (Benedek, 1954) described as 'a spectacle of unbridled hooliganism' - showed biker gangs at time of Mod/Rocker riots - rejected until 1967 when dangers seen to be over
  • Devil's Weed rejected (1951) as 'evils of drug taking not made clear'
  • Yield To The Night (Thompson, 1956) had themes of death row, coinciding with Ruth Ellis therefore passed as 'X' despite tasteful presentation
  • Room at the Top (Clayton, 1958) asked to soften language after accusation of "gross suggestiveness in costuming, dialogue and situations", despite its positive reflection of the upheaval of social/class boundaries in post-war UK