Thursday, August 20, 2009

Horror film "Grotesque" Banned by the British Board of Film Classification

by Marc Saint-Cyr

On his website, Midnight Eye co-founder and co-curator of this weekend's Shinsedai Cinema Festival Jasper Sharp has just written an interesting piece on film censorship and the recent surge (and one could say infiltration) of films classifiable as "torture porn" within the realm of art house cinema. Its inspiration? The recent banning of the Japanese horror film "Grotesque" in Britain by the British Board of Film Classification. Directed by Koji Shiraishi and starring Tsugumi Nagasawa, its minimal plot focuses on the torture and murder of a young woman and her boyfriend at the hands of a deranged tormentor.

Sharp's piece is well worth a read if only for the well-rounded way in which he addresses the various repercussions of this act of censorship. On the one hand, he doesn't really lament the hardships of yet another empty exercise in onscreen violence and gore. But on the other hand, he addresses the problematic issues that arise with such an act - namely, the imperfect methods of selection the BBFC uses and its potentially harmful consequences on other films that may get banned or handicapped with unfair ratings without actually deserving to (not to mention how more offensive films like Lars von Trier's "Antichrist" fly under the radar of such restrictive methods and, additionally, are "certified" by appearing in such high-class venues like Cannes).

Read about the "Grotesque" issue and its varied effects here, and form your own opinion on this issue of expression and control.

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