Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Melon farmers *

Straw Dogs Another slack week for me so it was off to Wolverhampon for 'In The Realm Of The Censors' talk at the Lighthouse. Interesting couple of hours presented by film examiner Ian Mashiah of the BBFC on the machinations of film censorship classification and the complications they face when bestowing age limits on films, TV and video games.
So... pop quiz hotshot, the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan vs. the whipping scene in The Passion Of Christ , Sex scene in Team America : World Police vs. Sutherland and Christies romp in Don't Look Now and (a 10 yr old) Bart Simpson skateboarding naked down the street in The Simpsons movie. What do you do? what DO you do?. Mashiah explained exactly what they did and how they used BBFC guidelines and legal counsel to come to their decisions (and how they faced criticism from Christian groups who felt the 18 classification was to high for 'the greatest story ever told'). A job not made any easier with the rapidly changing moral and cultural climate 'F' word acceptable nowadays, 'C' word still not?. I couldn't help but feel it was a bit of a PR job (not enough examples of them getting it wrong) but stacked against the studio backed American MPAA system i think they came out looking pretty 'firm but fair' . The real Elephant in the room still looms large and grey though, in the rapidly changing world of global media delivery where i'll be able to stream ANY film from ANYWHERE in the world straight to my digital watch isn't this organisations days numbered?.

PS: nothing more amusing than academics using the 'C' word and people nodding along knowledgably.

pps: not sure if the 'hand job' scene from The Ketchup Effect was included to demonstrate the BBFC and POCA guidelines or just make the cinema go 'Ouch!'

* a reference to one of my favourite 'censorship' stories

No comments: