Page last updated at 09:55 GMT, Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Naked film advert 'not offensive'

Antichrist image
The image was accompanied by text warning about the film's content

An advert for controversial movie Antichrist which showed a naked couple having sex has escaped censure from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The ASA ruled that the newspaper ad for Lars Von Trier's film was "unlikely to cause sexual excitement".

Seven complainants said it was pornographic and were concerned children might see it.

The movie, which contains graphic scenes of self-mutilation, was given an 18 certificate in the UK.


Antichrist received its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival to a mixture of derision and critical acclaim, while co-star Charlotte Gainsbourg won best actress at the event.

The advert for the film appeared in national newspapers including The Times and The Independent, which the ASA felt children were unlikely to see.

The ruling continued: "If children did see the ad, it was not considered particularly explicit.

Willem Dafoe, Lars von Trier and Charlotte Gainsbourg
Lars Von Trier (centre) defended his work at the Cannes Film Festival

"The dream-like context, introduced by the hands protruding from the tree, had the effect of making the image of the naked couple seem removed from reality."

The ASA concluded that the advertisement was "unlikely to be seen as irresponsible or cause serious or widespread offence".

But it conceded that the advert had "a dark tone", carrying the text: "When nature turns evil, true terror awaits."

It also carried a warning about the film's content, including "strong real sex, bloody violence and self mutilation".

This is "cinema at its most extreme", it added.

Von Trier's movie tells the story of a couple grieving for their child who retreat to a woodland cabin to overcome their loss, only to descend into violence and brutality.

The Danish director defended his work at Cannes, saying: "I don't think I owe anyone an explanation. I made it for myself."

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