Wednesday, February 14, 2007

New York Ripper's Slashes Still Slashed

The BBFC have again today certificated Lucio Fulci's New York Ripper as an 18 certificate for DVD release, this time with 'just' 34 seconds of compulsory cuts. What has been removed? In their words: "a naked and bound woman's stomach and breasts being mutilated with a razor".

Now, why is it that I can write that phrase, put it out into the world without having to run any censorship gauntlet, knowing full well that just about anybody who reads the words is capable of imagining the scene vividly, while a filmmaker still isn't permitted to show the scene to a UK audience? Now, don't get me wrong, I can't think of many images that, in isolation, I'd like to see less than this one - but in the context of a narrative? I can imagine a thousand ways in which it might be justified, and frankly, Fulci isn't just some lunatic hack. (You might win the argument that he is a lunatic hack, but never that it's all he is).

I like that the BBFC is ostensibly a body for film classification, not censorship - but when it comes to DVD releases in the UK, they are censors, in effect if not name. Nothing can be released to the UK market without a certificate from them, and they can make their requested cuts compulsory. Surely a final step, a beyond-18 'anything goes' unrated option, as per the US, is a better solution? Shouldn't it be possible for distributors to release anything they want onto DVD at all - providing the content is not, indeed, illegal in it's own right.

And, of course, providing it's only available to adults. Which should have gone without saying, but I thought, like the BBFC, I'd baby you and hold your hand for a moment.

I resurrect these age old arguments simply because they're never going to get old. Never. Not until we are treated like adults and allowed free choice over the films we watch, books we read and conversations we hold.

No comments: