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Wednesday, November 11, 1998 Published at 11:04 GMT


Film censor attacks Pulp Fiction

Quentin Tarantino wanted to direct the "best shooting-up scene in the world"

Britain's chief film censor has said that the film Pulp Fiction glamorised drug-taking so much it may have increased heroin abuse.

James Ferman, director of the British Board of Film Classification, said that the 1994 box-office hit, directed by Quentin Tarantino, was "socially irresponsible" and he wished he had cut some of the scenes from the film.

[ image: Uma Thurman has to be revived with a needle through the heart after a drugs overdose]
Uma Thurman has to be revived with a needle through the heart after a drugs overdose
Speaking to the Institute for the Study of Drug Dependence, Mr Ferman said: "We didn't cut the film, and I don't know, looking back, whether that was a good idea.

"I still wonder whether injection has increased since this film was out, because it was going to increase the glamour of injection considerably."

At the time the BBFC did request that the sight of a needle entering a vein be obscured on the video release.

Mr Ferman said that although he thought the movie was "wonderful" it was too pro-drugs and he believed young people might consider emulating the character played by John Travolta.

[ image: John Travolta plays a character who uses violence and drugs]
John Travolta plays a character who uses violence and drugs
"John Travolta plays a goof ball. He's not very bright, mucks up his own life and uses drugs, but he's very successful at it.

"He shoots up heroin just before he takes Uma Thurman to dinner, which is quite a catch, goes dancing and wins the dancing competition."

He also condemned what he called director Quentin Tarantino's boast of filming "the best shooting up scene in the world".

Mr Ferman also said he was worried about the effect of the British film Trainspotting, which he said gave a "very mixed message" about heroin.

[ image: Trainspotting gave a
Trainspotting gave a "mixed message" according to the censor
Although the film by director Danny Boyle shows a neglected baby dying, an overdose and an addict dying of Aids, Mr Ferman said: "The whole film was so entertaining that most people left saying `that looks really fun'. "

He also praised the German film about heroin, Christiana F, but said it was so depressing, it was not a box-office success.

In the 1970s, before becoming the BBFC director, Mr Ferman made a series of drugs education films for schools. He retires from his post at the BBFC at the end of the year.

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