Emily Fussell’s BBFC masterclass
Eden Court’s La Scala cinema, Inverness
Tuesday 25th August at 6.30pm.
Note: This event is suitable for aged 15 and over, but some clips from 18 certificate films may be shown.
Emily Fussell, a former cinema manager, works for the BBFC. Previously known as the British Board of Film Censors, these days the BBFC prefers to avoid the more emotive “censor” and titles Fussell and her colleagues examiners. However, the old terminology has not entirely died away.
When you’re in the pub trying to explain what you do, you pretty much have to say ‘I’m a film censor’, Fussell acknowledged.
Fussell will be in Inverness next week to give an insight into the enclosed world of film classification – and give Highland film enthusiasts a chance to do some censorship of their own. I get the audience to use their knowledge and try and classify something themselves, Fussell said: It’s amazing the reactions you get. Sometime you feel that young people are quite lenient and older people are more censorious, but when I showed people a clip from ‘Team America: World Police’ where the puppets have sex, the younger people wanted to give it quite a high rating but the older people were fine about it: ‘Oh, it’s just puppets.’
Most years see the BBFC embroiled in some controversy over its decisions, most recently Cannes prize-winner Antichrist from Danish director Lars Von Trier has been attacked for explicit sex and violence and faced calls for local authorities to ban the film after it was passed uncut by the BBFC.
Defending the BBFC’s decision to pass the film, Fussell suggested much of the controversy had been generated by people who had not actually seen the film: A lot of the controversy about ‘Antichrist’ is based on a scene of explicit sex. There’s also a close up shot of genital mutilation, but that’s obviously not real, just gore and special effects. There’s nothing in it that would be harmful and that’s primarily what we are looking at. When we watched it we never had any doubt that it would be an 18 uncut. That’s the way we operate these days: an adult should be able to see what they want as long as it is not harmful. [...or Grotesque?]