A Serbian Film - PULLED from line-up

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Axe
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Re: A Serbian Film - PULLED from line-up

Post by Axe » Wed Sep 01, 2010 5:57 pm

streetrw wrote:First off: I haven't seen A Serbian Film.

The BBFC don't have any such grudge - look at how many they pass, for crying out loud. Hundreds of them. And what are you going to replace them with?
That's true, the BBFC no longer cut horror, violence, gore. They do however on rare occasions cut sexual violence from horror films. Doesn't happen very often though.

Did anyone here seriously think the BBFC would pass Serbian uncut?

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Re: A Serbian Film - PULLED from line-up

Post by stanley » Wed Sep 01, 2010 6:31 pm

For a film festival, yes.

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Re: A Serbian Film - PULLED from line-up

Post by Stark » Thu Sep 02, 2010 9:39 am

Festivals such as Frightfest get to show "unrated" films by permission of the council (in this case Westminster). In this case A Serbian Film required a rating to be shown (as did I Spit...). It's at this point that the BBFC became involved. They followed standard guidelines (they're also very open about why they make the decisions they do if you visit the website); there was never any hope of A Serbian Film getting an 18 without cuts. The only hope of seeing an uncut version was with the permission of Westminster to show an unrated version.

Ratings are a useful guide for the general cinema going public (no one I know, except fellow FFers, would be happy were they to wander into their local multiplex on "date nigh" and see A Serbian Film uncut), they appreciate the helpful numbers tagged onto films that guide their viewing choice and also "protect" them from images they do not want to see. The issue here lies with the requirement for a specialised film festival to show a rated version. So, if you want to write an email of complaint or enquiry as to "why", I'd suggest you start with Westminster.

I'm not "pro" censorship, but I do understand the use of ratings in a country where children (young teenagers?) visit the cinema unsupervised and where many adults go to the cinema "blind" just for something to do. That a specialised genre film audience can't gain permission to show unrated versions in this country, when other festivals in other countries have, is another matter and probably the more important issue in terms of "censorship", in my opinion anyway.
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Re: A Serbian Film - PULLED from line-up

Post by Axe » Thu Sep 02, 2010 11:24 am

Good post, Stark.

Yes unlike the films that had been previously shown at FrightFest it must have been pretty clear to the council ( as it should be to anyone) that these 2 films Serbian & I Spit were likely to have serious censorship problems with the BBFC and I think that's why they wanted a BBFC rating here. Perhaps there was also a chance that Serbian did in fact contain material that was in breach of UK law - although the BBFC have now confirmed that this is not the case. But it does seem like the council do not want to give the ok to films that are likely to recieve cuts.

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Re: A Serbian Film - PULLED from line-up

Post by stanley » Thu Sep 02, 2010 12:21 pm

Sorry Stark,but seem to be going off on a patronising tangent.

Your missing the point. Do you agree that the council's decision to DEMAND the BBFC approved version for a one off showing at a horror film festival simply defeats the purpose of a film festival and for that matter, the BBFC???

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Re: A Serbian Film - PULLED from line-up

Post by MaxRenn » Thu Sep 02, 2010 12:38 pm

Axe wrote:But it does seem like the council do not want to give the ok to films that are likely to recieve cuts.
I think it is specifically an issue because FrightFest is a horror festival and one that has become a roaring success. I highly doubt that the BFI London Film Festival faces similar scrutiny. The LFF screened 2009 film Kinatay described by the Guardian's Peter Bradshaw as "having no prospect of a UK cinema release" due to its graphic depiction of the rape and murder of a prostitute. I suspect this played at the NFT (thus out of the Westminster Council area of control), but had it played at the ICA I doubt it would have caused a fuss.

Raindance screened the Serbian Life and Death of a Porno Gang to zero fuss in 2009. Read the synopsis of that film and tell me how it failed to catch Westminster council's eye.

http://www.raindance.co.uk/site/index.p ... 43,0,0,1,0

The BBFC ruling is a seperate issue to Serbian Film being pulled from Frightfest, most everyone I know who has seen it did not expect the film to pass uncut. The real issue is that Westminster Council believes that we as the FrightFest audience are more likely to be depraved and corrupted than the audience of Raindance or the LFF. It's all about perception vs reality.

To paraphrase David Cronenberg, Westminster Council are doing what only psychotics do, they are confusing illusion with reality.
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Re: A Serbian Film - PULLED from line-up

Post by stanley » Thu Sep 02, 2010 12:42 pm

Superb, Best post on this MaxRenn.

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Re: A Serbian Film - PULLED from line-up

Post by Stark » Thu Sep 02, 2010 12:57 pm

I'm sorry if you found my reply patronising, if wasn't intended that way, but I don't see how I went off on a tangent considering I was talking about censorship, the BBFC, Frightfest and A Serbian Film.

However, to answer your question: No, I don't think it defeats the point of the festival or the BBFC.

I would have liked to see A Serbian Film as it was intended, uncut and unrated, and am disappointed that Westminster felt the need to insist it be rated. I think festivals like Frightfest are perhaps the only place where A Serbian Film could be shown in full; it has been seen at other festivals in full and the decision by Westminster does leave a sour taste in the mouth. I do not endorse the decision by Westminster to insist on rating A Serbian Film, I would have like the chance to see it as the director intended and think that festivals like Frightfest are the ideal venues for such challenging, unsettling cinema.

As for defeating the point of the festival? No, I'd like to think that the festival stands for much more than serving simply as a venue for extreme, challenging cinema. The chance to see films that will never be seen on another cinema screen in this country, exposure of entertaining films without distribution to an audience that will appreciate them, highlighting new talents in the industry and the chance to see "alternative" cinema that might easily slip past undetected if not for festivals such as Frighfest. Again, that is not me endorsing the decision by Westminster, but I do think that Frightfest is more diverse in purpose than you suggest.

And the point of the BBFC? I think they served their purpose entirely in rating A Serbian Film (there was no way A Serbian Film would ever pass without cuts given its contents). I don't agree with decision to call for a rating in this instance, but I do agree that rating cinema in a wider context is justifiable and feel the BBFC are fairly open with their decisions. That there is no opportunity in this case for a mindful, prepared and aware audience to watch an uncut, unrated movie under any circumstances is the issue, and that decision was made by Westminster.
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Re: A Serbian Film - PULLED from line-up

Post by Stark » Thu Sep 02, 2010 12:59 pm

I quite agree with MaxRenn on this. Frightfest perhaps a victim of its own success?
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A Serbian Film - PULLED from line-up

Post by daveroughcut » Thu Sep 02, 2010 3:25 pm

The print of Hatchet 2 arrived in country with Adam Green. I can't see the BBFC having a chance to see it and/or rate it. So an unrated film was shown and I'm sure there must have been plenty of pre-certification films shown at Frightfest.

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Re: A Serbian Film - PULLED from line-up

Post by Axe » Thu Sep 02, 2010 3:41 pm

MaxRenn wrote:
Axe wrote:But it does seem like the council do not want to give the ok to films that are likely to recieve cuts.
I think it is specifically an issue because FrightFest is a horror festival and one that has become a roaring success. I highly doubt that the BFI London Film Festival faces similar scrutiny. The LFF screened 2009 film Kinatay described by the Guardian's Peter Bradshaw as "having no prospect of a UK cinema release" due to its graphic depiction of the rape and murder of a prostitute. I suspect this played at the NFT (thus out of the Westminster Council area of control), but had it played at the ICA I doubt it would have caused a fuss.

Raindance screened the Serbian Life and Death of a Porno Gang to zero fuss in 2009. Read the synopsis of that film and tell me how it failed to catch Westminster council's eye.

http://www.raindance.co.uk/site/index.p ... 43,0,0,1,0

The BBFC ruling is a seperate issue to Serbian Film being pulled from Frightfest, most everyone I know who has seen it did not expect the film to pass uncut. The real issue is that Westminster Council believes that we as the FrightFest audience are more likely to be depraved and corrupted than the audience of Raindance or the LFF. It's all about perception vs reality.

To paraphrase David Cronenberg, Westminster Council are doing what only psychotics do, they are confusing illusion with reality.
Well wether Kinatay would have censorship issues with the BBFC remains to be seen. I've heard this before even from Brad Stevens in the Darkside stating that a film (can't remember the name) would be cut here if submitted but when it was submitted it was passed uncut. Could be the same with this film. Only the BBFC can really answer this question. As for The Life and Death of a Porno Gang, well reading that review it doesn't sound like a big deal to me. No mention of sexual violence for a start. The reviewer says that it contains scenes that quite possibly breach the laws on obscenity. Now it's entirely possible that it does but until the BBFC have seen it we really won't know for sure. So just speculation. Perhaps these films were given the OK by whatever council viewed them ( that is of course they were submitted). The thing is about Serbian and I Spit is that they did breach the BBFC's strict rules on sexual violence and the council were able to spot this straight away. The question is has a film festival in recent years shown a film uncut that has gone on to have serious problems with either the BBFC or our obsenity laws?

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Re: A Serbian Film - PULLED from line-up

Post by splittter » Thu Sep 02, 2010 3:48 pm

Whilst I suppose it's more practical to focus on the issue of why Westminster Council decided to insist on BBFC certification in the instances of ISoYG & ASF, and lament that such things don't seem to affect mainstream festivals, the real issue is definitely that both films, whilst breaking no laws in their production, are still censored.

One of my biggest problems with censorship in this country is that it's often been class based, usually under the guise of 'artistic merit', whereby stronger content is only allowed if deemed artistically justified ... which means, in practice, that what's acceptable in art films is not allowed in genre films. Whilst the BBFC has been far far better post 1999, the attitude still exists, and even people with liberal attitudes with regards censorhip seem to think content need be 'justified' in some way. That ASF might be allowed uncut in a festival, but not allowed on general release, is simply part of that prejudice ... maybe clarifying FF's position with Westminster Council is all that can be done in the short term, but such an outcome is still unacceptable (imo and all that).

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Re: A Serbian Film - PULLED from line-up

Post by MaxRenn » Thu Sep 02, 2010 4:18 pm

Axe wrote:
MaxRenn wrote:
Axe wrote:But it does seem like the council do not want to give the ok to films that are likely to recieve cuts.
I think it is specifically an issue because FrightFest is a horror festival and one that has become a roaring success. I highly doubt that the BFI London Film Festival faces similar scrutiny. The LFF screened 2009 film Kinatay described by the Guardian's Peter Bradshaw as "having no prospect of a UK cinema release" due to its graphic depiction of the rape and murder of a prostitute. I suspect this played at the NFT (thus out of the Westminster Council area of control), but had it played at the ICA I doubt it would have caused a fuss.

Raindance screened the Serbian Life and Death of a Porno Gang to zero fuss in 2009. Read the synopsis of that film and tell me how it failed to catch Westminster council's eye.

http://www.raindance.co.uk/site/index.p ... 43,0,0,1,0

The BBFC ruling is a seperate issue to Serbian Film being pulled from Frightfest, most everyone I know who has seen it did not expect the film to pass uncut. The real issue is that Westminster Council believes that we as the FrightFest audience are more likely to be depraved and corrupted than the audience of Raindance or the LFF. It's all about perception vs reality.

To paraphrase David Cronenberg, Westminster Council are doing what only psychotics do, they are confusing illusion with reality.
Well wether Kinatay would have censorship issues with the BBFC remains to be seen. I've heard this before even from Brad Stevens in the Darkside stating that a film (can't remember the name) would be cut here if submitted but when it was submitted it was passed uncut. Could be the same with this film. Only the BBFC can really answer this question. As for The Life and Death of a Porno Gang, well reading that review it doesn't sound like a big deal to me. No mention of sexual violence for a start. The reviewer says that it contains scenes that quite possibly breach the laws on obscenity. Now it's entirely possible that it does but until the BBFC have seen it we really won't know for sure. So just speculation. Perhaps these films were given the OK by whatever council viewed them ( that is of course they were submitted). The thing is about Serbian and I Spit is that they did breach the BBFC's strict rules on sexual violence and the council were able to spot this straight away. The question is has a film festival in recent years shown a film uncut that has gone on to have serious problems with either the BBFC or our obsenity laws?
With respect you are missing the point by a country mile.

The BBFC ruling re: Serbian Film is not the fundamental issue over the pulling of the film. That was that Westminister Council demanded ASB and I Spit were passed by the BBFC before they allowed them to be shown. Why did Westminster Council do this? They have not made this demand on the LFF or Raindance (although after this debacle who knows?) despite both these festivals having screened extremely transgressive films in the past. My point is that Westminster Council view FrightFest and the horror genre as disreputable and the wider media, including liberal broadsheets, is happy to either support this or stand back and let it happen. This was key to Jake West's Nasties documentary and to Prof. Barker's comments in the doc and the panel discussion.

My opinion is that rather than definitively block the screening of the film they played a smarter game and essentially passed the buck to the BBFC knowing that (at least) ASB had little chance of being passed without major cuts. Nearly four minutes of cuts puts FrightFest in an untenable position, they could not have shown the film in this form when it is playing widely uncut in many respected festivals.

This episode put the BBFC in a difficult position, but whether ASB should be cut for general release is another debate. The point here is, we as a responsible adult audience, attending a specialist film festival, fully forewarned about the nature of the film, were prevented from viewing it by petty bureaucrats (at Westminster Council, not the BBFC).

As to whether a film screened in recent years at a film festival has gone on to have problems with the BBFC:

A Ma Soeur! by Cathering Breillat - cut 1m 28s, screened at the Edinburgh Film Festival

There are plenty of other examples, but then there are the films no distributor wants to pick up and submit in the first place (such as Kinatay, which was I think what Peter Bradshaw meant).

For loads of background and info I recommend checking out http://www.melonfarmers.co.uk and the BBFC itself http://www.bbfc.co.uk/
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Re: A Serbian Film - PULLED from line-up

Post by Axe » Thu Sep 02, 2010 5:15 pm

MaxRenn wrote: [With respect you are missing the point by a country mile.

The BBFC ruling re: Serbian Film is not the fundamental issue over the pulling of the film. That was that Westminister Council demanded ASB and I Spit were passed by the BBFC before they allowed them to be shown. Why did Westminster Council do this? They have not made this demand on the LFF or Raindance (although after this debacle who knows?) despite both these festivals having screened extremely transgressive films in the past. My point is that Westminster Council view FrightFest and the horror genre as disreputable and the wider media, including liberal broadsheets, is happy to either support this or stand back and let it happen. This was key to Jake West's Nasties documentary and to Prof. Barker's comments in the doc and the panel discussion.

My opinion is that rather than definitively block the screening of the film they played a smarter game and essentially passed the buck to the BBFC knowing that (at least) ASB had little chance of being passed without major cuts. Nearly four minutes of cuts puts FrightFest in an untenable position, they could not have shown the film in this form when it is playing widely uncut in many respected festivals.

This episode put the BBFC in a difficult position, but whether ASB should be cut for general release is another debate. The point here is, we as a responsible adult audience, attending a specialist film festival, fully forewarned about the nature of the film, were prevented from viewing it by petty bureaucrats (at Westminster Council, not the BBFC).

As to whether a film screened in recent years at a film festival has gone on to have problems with the BBFC:

A Ma Soeur! by Cathering Breillat - cut 1m 28s, screened at the Edinburgh Film Festival

There are plenty of other examples, but then there are the films no distributor wants to pick up and submit in the first place (such as Kinatay, which was I think what Peter Bradshaw meant).

For loads of background and info I recommend checking out http://www.melonfarmers.co.uk and the BBFC itself http://www.bbfc.co.uk/
Ok, fair enough, sorry if I missed the point earlier on.

Yeah A Ma Soeur did go on to have problems but only on video, an uncut cinema screening is still legit. I'm familiar with the melon farmers.

I think it will be interesting to see if Serbian gets shown uncut in other festivals in the UK.

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Re: A Serbian Film - PULLED from line-up

Post by MaxRenn » Thu Sep 02, 2010 5:51 pm

Don't mind me Axe, have come down with post FrightFest lurgy making me grumpy. Plus I'm sick of being treated like a child because I like horror films. We're adults, let us make up our own minds ferkrisakes!

ASB is now a hot potato, I think it will be too toxic for other feasts, maybe the Manchester one will try to screen it. Can somebody remind me what that one is called?
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