Monday, April 30, 2007

Take The Skinheads To Bristol, Take Them To Bristol

The Bristol Watershed's website is explaining just why 15 year olds can see Shane Meadows' This is England in their city but everywhere else in the UK, audiences will need to be over 18.

Following the classification of Shane Meadow’s latest coming-of-age film This is England as an 18 certificate by the British Board of Film Certification (BBFC), Watershed’s Head of Film Programme, Mark Cosgrove, applied to Bristol City Council’s licensing committee to request that the film be re-classified to enable teenagers to see this important film. We are delighted to announce that the committee unanimously voted to re-classify the film for Bristol audiences and gave it a 15 certificate.

Mark originally saw the film at the Berlin Film Festival in Feb ‘07 in a strand aimed at audiences aged 14 and over and was surprised by the classification decision of the BBFC. Feeling strongly that teenagers should see this powerful film, which draws on the director’s own youth and tackles the moral dilemmas of growing up amidst bullying and peer pressure, Mark applied to the local licensing committee, who agreed with his opinion of the film.

I agree that the issues in this film are clearly of specific relevance to teenagers - second to, perhaps, the age group that were teenagers in the 1980s.

Oxford's council, here, have regularly permitted screenings of unrated films - a totally uncut Last House on the Left being one of the most hyped and best attended. This was in the era before DVD, and I doubt such a screening would be one half as popular now.

But it can cut the other way too - Westminster Council, at the heart of London, banned Cronenberg's Crash outright. Viewers wishing to see the film had to walk a few hundred metres or take a trip on the underground for a minute or two to get out of the district. I suppose it was a symbolic stand.

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