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What Censorship Exists For Feature Films In the UK?

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Introduction

19 February 2002 ND MEDIA PRODUCTION YEAR 2 FILM STUDIES MODULE JOHN LOUGH ASSIGNMENT: WHAT CENSORSHIP EXISTS FOR FEATURE FILMS IN THE UK? To explain what censorship exists in our country today, the definition of the word censorship needs to be stated. It means to ban or remove anything regarded as harmful, but of course what may be harmful to one person may not to another and so laws were devised to distinguish what age groups could see what films, judging on mental maturity. There are arguments about these groups but they are deemed the fairest way to prohibit offensive material being seen by someone for whom it was unsuitable for. In the past regulations were very tight and films were frequently banned, today this is very rare. In 1998 the BBFC (the board that enforces the Video Recordings Acts in the UK) said it had become "a board of classification rather than censorship". Censorship tends to insinuate patronisation, that the public can't handle certain images, but today a lot of old films are being released uncut and generations mature quicker and find the certifications required by law very restrictive. ...read more.

Middle

The revised guidelines published recently indicate that such cutting of an 18 should not happen. Criminal techniques cannot be too detailed or demonstrative because the BBFC believe scenes of this nature contravene the Criminal Justice & Public Order Amendment to the Video Recording Act 1994. Thus scenes depicting use of slim-jims and hot-wiring are cut. Scenes using exotic weapons, such as a butterfly knife seen in John Woo's Face/Off, have often been cut accused of glamorising and encouraging imitation. This area was revised in 1999 and led to the release of Bruce Lee's Enter the Dragon passing uncut for the first time. The Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act 1937 prohibits exhibition or supply of a film if animals are harmed in the film making process by the cruel infliction of pain or the goading to terror to fury of any animal. Films affected and cut include Werner Herzog's Even Dwarfs Started Small and The Long Riders. Only one film has ever been banned purely because it was deemed blasphemous (offensive to Christianity), that is Nigel Wingrove's Visions of Ecstasy. ...read more.

Conclusion

Extremely high fines (up to �5000) and up to 3 years in gaol are the penalties for breaking this law. Censorship is there to protect the general public, especially young children who cannot make firm distinctions between fiction and reality. Music is censored so as not to encourage children to swear, be violent or abusive in any form. This is so in film, the brain is very sensitive to imagery especially in early stages of growth and film companies don't want to be blamed for damaging someone's psychological growth. For example the role playing game Dungeons and Dragons as well as Marilyn Manson's music has been blamed by murderers for encouraging adverse behaviour. Censorship is very relaxed today as society becomes more, but it is the safety net that stops the F-word before 9pm, the would-be criminals from learning how to steal cars, the 7 year old from seeing full on intercourse etc. There are debates who say it is pointless, but in the end a line must be drawn, the film industry cannot be anarchy. ...read more.

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