Certification Discussion (Formerly Paranoia Agent Uncut UK Release Confirmation)

ayase

State Alchemist
It seems a lot of you are pro BBFC
I'm possibly one of the most vocal critics of the BBFC you'll find on AUKN to the point I don't think they should exist and that any ratings system should be an entirely voluntary opt-in system. But I haven't been weighing in on this discussion on your side because I think there are considerably more reasonable and respectful ways to put across your points than the ones you are employing; it feels a lot like you're just trolling to get a reaction out of people or spoiling for a fight. It would certainly help if you used punctuation instead of line breaks for a start.
 

jake scully

Brigade Leader
There is a Doctor Who episode in which a man is tortured by having his hands crushed and you can clearly see his hands covered in blood, which was given a U certificate. My go to example of the BBFC's rather perculiar standards.
The BBFC are a funny lot and as read before they contradict themselves
I Spit On Your Grave (1978) for example was banned but released for some years now heavily censored yet Irreversible has sexual violence and passed uncut
 

Silanda

Completely Average High School Student
The BBFC are a funny lot and as read before they contradict themselves
I Spit On Your Grave (1978) for example was banned but released for some years now heavily censored yet Irreversible has sexual violence and passed uncut

Well, one's French and one's a low budget exploitation film. Whether or not Irreversible is an arthouse or film or not is debatable, but it is French, and French films always seem to be treated as arthouse films by default. The BBFC have shown elitist tendencies since forever; your average cinemagoer is stupid and easily influenced, so they're more in need of protection than the educated folks who watch arty films you see? Censorship in the UK has had this nasty stink to it at least as far back as Victorian times: the subtext that the general public are soft in the head and need to be protected from immoral influences by their betters.

There's that famous quote from the prosecutor in the "Lady Chatterley's Lover" trial in the '60s who asked the jury, "Is it a book you would wish your wife or servants to read?" Things have improved, and I can't imagine anyone publicly defending censorship by asking that sort of question now, but I'm convinced that some of that attitude persists to this day. I Spit on Your Grave is a pretty unpleasant film, and it should have an uncut UK release. It's farcical at this point that the BBFC still somehow consider it dangerous, especially as you can buy an import uncut release pretty trivially should you wish.

I have no problem with age certification (though I believe that if it's legally mandated it should also be free), but I have a very big problem with anyone telling adults what they can or can't watch or buy (outside of things that are clearly illegal and require harm to create).
 

Yami

Vampire Ninja
The BBFC have published case studies on both of those films and how they reached their decisions. You may disagree with the outcome, but they are transparent and it's pretty clear that in the present day that they make active attempts to avoid making cuts whenever possible.

Pretty much every country has some form of classification system and I'm sure every one of them has elements that we would personally disagree with. I think it's absurd that the BBFC is mandatory and charges fees with the effect of limiting the number of films that small independent labels can release. But ultimately the criticism is with the government and not the BBFC themselves - they've been given their remit and they can't voluntarily decide to stop. It could be a lot worse - when the BBFC decided to pass Cronenberg's Crash uncut despite the best efforts of the British media, their then-examiners had their photographs and personal details published by the tabloid press who painted them as 'liberals'.
 

Silanda

Completely Average High School Student
The BBFC have published case studies on both of those films and how they reached their decisions. You may disagree with the outcome, but they are transparent and it's pretty clear that in the present day that they make active attempts to avoid making cuts whenever possible.

I took a look at the case study for "I Spit on Your Grave" published on the BBFC's website. It provides no citations of research whatsoever, and is therefore utterly useless in more closely examining the BBFC's thought process or providing an evidence based justification for cuts. They claim that there is a significant body of research but don't reference any of it. Without providing any research to scrutinise, and coming off as little more than "we think... therefore...", I fail to see how they provide sufficient justification for censorship.

IIRC a fair amount of the research the BBFC used to use to justify cuts (they have cited it in the past) was either discredited by its own authors or published/sponsored by people/organisations who were in no way unbiased. I'm not sure if that's still the case, but it wouldn't surprise me. I can't find anything on their website, but their new website is truly awful.
 
Last edited:

ayase

State Alchemist
Pretty much every country has some form of classification system and I'm sure every one of them has elements that we would personally disagree with.
The US seems to get by pretty well with an entirely voluntary home video ratings system, and I don't see any issue with that at all. It's then up to distributors if they want to put a rating on a product and retailers if they want to stock titles. No government intervention required.

ultimately the criticism is with the government and not the BBFC themselves - they've been given their remit and they can't voluntarily decide to stop.
While true, let's take police officers as another example of this. They enforce laws made by the government, but it's also true that HOW they enforce that law is in their hands and is their responsibility, and there are plenty of examples of them doing so badly or wrongly. I think the same is true of the BBFC.
 

Yami

Vampire Ninja
I took a look at the case study for "I Spit on Your Grave" published on the BBFC's website. It provides no citations of research whatsoever, and is therefore utterly useless in more closely examining the BBFC's thought process or providing an evidence based justification for cuts. They claim that there is a significant body of research but don't reference any of it. Without providing any research to scrutinise, and coming off as little more than "we think... therefore...", I fail to see how they provide sufficient justification for censorship.

I'm going to beg to differ on it being 'utterly useless' - it's not going to make a passing grade as an exam paper, but it certainly tells you why they arrived at the conclusions that they did. They don't have to provide an evidence based justification, but the fact they make any attempt to explain themselves at all and to have some level of transparency as a public body makes them stand out from most other classification bodies in the world. As well as the fact that they conduct a wide public consultation with regards to their guidelines every few years. They might well be able to provide you with details of their evidence base if you asked.

The US seems to get by pretty well with an entirely voluntary home video ratings system, and I don't see any issue with that at all. It's then up to distributors if they want to put a rating on a product and retailers if they want to stock titles. No government intervention required.


While true, let's take police officers as another example of this. They enforce laws made by the government, but it's also true that HOW they enforce that law is in their hands and is their responsibility, and there are plenty of examples of them doing so badly or wrongly. I think the same is true of the BBFC.

True with regards to home video, but the MPAA system is pretty crap when it comes to theatrical releases. The need to avoid an NC-17 rating has compromised filmmakers' visions (to paraphrase the DGA) to a far greater detriment than the BBFC ever has. Furthermore, while the BBFC may seem elitist (but even Andrei Tarkovsky hasn't escaped their scissors) the MPAA has been far more susceptible to behind the scenes lobbying from those with clout like Harvey Weinstein and Steven Spielberg.

I think the current BBFC do a very good job at what they've been tasked to do. This thread is about Paranoia Agent, which they've now passed uncut and reversed their previous - widely criticised - decision. They evolve with the times and have become more flexible with regards to their classification guidelines and how they interpret the laws they have been tasked with enforcing. I'm not trying to defend their existence, but I don't foresee its abolishment ever getting parliamentary time so we're going to have to live with it to some extent. And I can't really see how it can do better than it does in the present day. Maybe if it were more affordable or had some sort of means tested fee system.
 

ayase

State Alchemist
rue with regards to home video, but the MPAA system is pretty crap when it comes to theatrical releases. The need to avoid an NC-17 rating has compromised filmmakers' visions (to paraphrase the DGA) to a far greater detriment than the BBFC ever has.
It's my understanding though that this desire to avoid an NC-17 rating stems from cinema chains being unwilling to show films with that rating (a bit like if cinemas in the UK refused to show 18 certificate films, which I think is pretty unheard of here) rather than any kind of power of the MPAA - They're just a ratings body, and are not banning anything by giving it an NC-17. I do wonder why, given the wealth and power of the movie industry you already mentioned, content producers haven't either bribed sorry, lobbied or simply bought up those cinema chains so they can show NC-17 films without issue.

I don't foresee its abolishment ever getting parliamentary time so we're going to have to live with it to some extent. And I can't really see how it can do better than it does in the present day. Maybe if it were more affordable or had some sort of means tested fee system.
While I begrudgingly accept they're not going anywhere, there are two things that I really think should change and one is those ludicrous per-minute ratings fees. Far better would be a (tiny) percentage profit system so something that only sells 100 copies doesn't cost the distributor anywhere near what something that sells 10000 copies does. The current system just discourages the release of anything too niche by making the initial costs prohibitively expensive before any sales or profit have even been made.

The second is that I don't believe they should have the power to demand cuts of anything which isn't explicitly illegal, coming back on topic to Paranoia Agent. That's just abuse of the power they've been granted in my opinion, there was no legal requirement for them to demand cuts to Paranoia Agent but they went ahead and did it anyway, even at an 18 rating.
 

jake scully

Brigade Leader
Well, one's French and one's a low budget exploitation film. Whether or not Irreversible is an arthouse or film or not is debatable, but it is French, and French films always seem to be treated as arthouse films by default. The BBFC have shown elitist tendencies since forever; your average cinemagoer is stupid and easily influenced, so they're more in need of protection than the educated folks who watch arty films you see? Censorship in the UK has had this nasty stink to it at least as far back as Victorian times: the subtext that the general public are soft in the head and need to be protected from immoral influences by their betters.

There's that famous quote from the prosecutor in the "Lady Chatterley's Lover" trial in the '60s who asked the jury, "Is it a book you would wish your wife or servants to read?" Things have improved, and I can't imagine anyone publicly defending censorship by asking that sort of question now, but I'm convinced that some of that attitude persists to this day. I Spit on Your Grave is a pretty unpleasant film, and it should have an uncut UK release. It's farcical at this point that the BBFC still somehow consider it dangerous, especially as you can buy an import uncut release pretty trivially should you wish.

I have no problem with age certification (though I believe that if it's legally mandated it should also be free), but I have a very big problem with anyone telling adults what they can or can't watch or buy (outside of things that are clearly illegal and require harm to create).
I have all I Spit On Your Grave films and esp wouldn’t call them unpleasant
Typical exploitation but it’s rape & revenge and you know the scumbags are going to die in deservedly horrible ways
The last 2 are uncut in UK
Yes sometimes if it’s an art house film with rape etc will go through uncut
I have Antichrist, The House That Jack Built, Boise Moi, Nymphomaniac & Caligula which all have sexual contents that wouldn’t be allowed years ago
 

jake scully

Brigade Leader
I'm going to beg to differ on it being 'utterly useless' - it's not going to make a passing grade as an exam paper, but it certainly tells you why they arrived at the conclusions that they did. They don't have to provide an evidence based justification, but the fact they make any attempt to explain themselves at all and to have some level of transparency as a public body makes them stand out from most other classification bodies in the world. As well as the fact that they conduct a wide public consultation with regards to their guidelines every few years. They might well be able to provide you with details of their evidence base if you asked.



True with regards to home video, but the MPAA system is pretty crap when it comes to theatrical releases. The need to avoid an NC-17 rating has compromised filmmakers' visions (to paraphrase the DGA) to a far greater detriment than the BBFC ever has. Furthermore, while the BBFC may seem elitist (but even Andrei Tarkovsky hasn't escaped their scissors) the MPAA has been far more susceptible to behind the scenes lobbying from those with clout like Harvey Weinstein and Steven Spielberg.

I think the current BBFC do a very good job at what they've been tasked to do. This thread is about Paranoia Agent, which they've now passed uncut and reversed their previous - widely criticised - decision. They evolve with the times and have become more flexible with regards to their classification guidelines and how they interpret the laws they have been tasked with enforcing. I'm not trying to defend their existence, but I don't foresee its abolishment ever getting parliamentary time so we're going to have to live with it to some extent. And I can't really see how it can do better than it does in the present day. Maybe if it were more affordable or had some sort of means tested fee system.
I agree with you about the MPAA being crap
I’ve got a documentary called This Film Is Not Rated
It shows them as crooks
Amongst other stuff they copy the directors film without his consent which he asked about beforehand twice
He was told the copy is in a safe place
Yes you’re right cinema owners etc are against NC17 rating
Few cinemas show the films & no advertising in mags papers and tv & radio trailers
The US Censors are esp against nudity - dumb
 

jake scully

Brigade Leader
The reason for trailers on dvds/blu rays is obviously to advertise other films on same label
You must know this is everywhere
It’s s a natural extra to have on the disc
As I said before the BBFC monitor everything on a disc
In other European countries they don’t rate the bonus features and same applies to the US
But then esp in Scandinavia, Holland, Italy etc are not bothered and liberal with their film extrasy
 

jake scully

Brigade Leader
Well, one's French and one's a low budget exploitation film. Whether or not Irreversible is an arthouse or film or not is debatable, but it is French, and French films always seem to be treated as arthouse films by default. The BBFC have shown elitist tendencies since forever; your average cinemagoer is stupid and easily influenced, so they're more in need of protection than the educated folks who watch arty films you see? Censorship in the UK has had this nasty stink to it at least as far back as Victorian times: the subtext that the general public are soft in the head and need to be protected from immoral influences by their betters.

There's that famous quote from the prosecutor in the "Lady Chatterley's Lover" trial in the '60s who asked the jury, "Is it a book you would wish your wife or servants to read?" Things have improved, and I can't imagine anyone publicly defending censorship by asking that sort of question now, but I'm convinced that some of that attitude persists to this day. I Spit on Your Grave is a pretty unpleasant film, and it should have an uncut UK release. It's farcical at this point that the BBFC still somehow consider it dangerous, especially as you can buy an import uncut release pretty trivially should you wish.

I have no problem with age certification (though I believe that if it's legally mandated it should also be free), but I have a very big problem with anyone telling adults what they can or can't watch or buy (outside of things that are clearly illegal and require harm to create).
Not all foreign films esp French get passed uncut the British Board Of Film Censors- fact
 
Top