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Wednesday, 29 May, 2002, 09:43 GMT 10:43 UK
Sex videos cause cuts surge
A scene from French film Baise-Moi
The board has passed more controversial material
A flood of videos featuring sex has caused a jump in the number of cuts made by the British Board of Film Classification.

The increase last year bucks a recent trend which had seen the number of scenes to be cut gradually dropping.

As well as pornographic videos, the BBFC has now started to pass mainstream films featuring sex such as Baise-Moi and The Pornographer.


Sex videos which showed an increase as a result of the relaxation in the guidelines

Robin Duval
BBFC

But a pilot BBFC scheme to make the 12 rating advisory rather than mandatory showed "substantial public support", according to its annual report.

"I believe that over time the public will wish the board's decisions to be advisory rather than mandatory," said outgoing president Andreas Whittam Smith.

Consumer advice

"That is why we have been exploring the case for making the 12 certificate at the cinema a useful guide for parents rather than an outright prohibition based on age.

"For such a system to work, it would be essential for film distributors routinely to provide Consumer Advice with all advertising and promotional activity."

Further research will be carried out this year which could eventually see a permanent change, bringing the UK into line with the US and much of Europe.

In 2001 the number of films requiring cuts rose from 2.4% to 2.8%, but there has also been a huge rise in the number of films submitted for certification.

Relaxation

In 2000 about 8,000 cinema films and videos were put before the board, but this rose by 1,500 last year, the report shows.

Andreas Whittam Smith
Andreas Whittam Smith is stepping down from the BBFC
The board's director Robin Duval said the rise in cuts - from 2000's all-time low - was accounted for by the number of pornographic videos now being submitted.

That follows a relaxation in the guidelines for R18 movies allowing stronger material and real sex scenes to be included in videos, following a court ruling.

Mr Duval said: "The number of works cut by the BBFC rose slightly to 2.8% of submissions.

"Many of these were sex videos which showed an increase as a result of the relaxation in the guidelines following the High Court decision against the BBFC in 2000.

"The R18 category however only accounted for just over 6% of all works classified by the BBFC."

Complete rejection

More than 40 R18 films were cut to fit in with the guidelines, the report says, most of which were for scenes of violence.

Complete rejection by the BBFC is now extremely rare.

No cinema films were refused a certificate and only one video was rejected when the distributor declined to make the cuts which the board advised.

The BBFC often suggests cuts to allow a film to get a lower rating, which was the case for most of the 14 cinema films which were cut.

Just one 18-rated film, Baise-Moi, was cut and that was for scenes of sexual violence.

The annual report shows that the number of films, videos and DVDs submitted has more than doubled in four years.

Complaints included one disappointed customer, annoyed that the video Bram Stoker's Legend Of The Mummy 2 failed to live up to the promise of "erotic content" suggested on the sleeve.

See also:

29 Oct 01 | Entertainment
26 Feb 01 | Entertainment
06 Mar 02 | Entertainment
14 Sep 00 | Entertainment
22 May 00 | UK
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