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Friday, 4 October, 2002, 10:33 GMT 11:33 UK
Loach urges young to defy censors
Ken Loach and his young cast at the film's UK premiere
Loach says the film uses the language of the young
Film director Ken Loach has encouraged teenagers to go to the cinema to see his movie Sweet Sixteen, even though it would be illegal.

Sweet Sixteen, released across the UK on Friday, tackles the issues of youth crime caused by poverty in Glasgow.

But despite its subject matter and title, the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) gave it an 18 rating after counting more than 200 swear words.

Loach told the Daily Telegraph that he encouraged teenagers to break the law to see his new film.

"I wonder what message the BBFC sends to the people in the film by telling them they are fit only to be rated with the work of pornographers," Loach was quoted as saying.


The problem is that the censors live in their own little ivory tower and are playing to their own middle class gallery

Ken Loach

The film, which won a best screenplay award at Cannes, features Martin Compston as a teenager who takes to dealing drugs to raise enough money to buy his imprisoned mother a caravan on her release from jail.

Compston - a footballer for Scottish Third Division side Greenock Morton - was one of a large number of local actors used by Loach, the acclaimed director of films such as Kes, Land and Freedom and Carla's Song.

A spokeswoman for the BBFC was said to have agreed that research showed many people accepted that bad language was part of life.

But she added that most were opposed to hearing one particular four-letter word in a film, such as in Sweet Sixteen.

Reputation

Conservative MP Peter Bottomley - a former chairman of Children's Society - came out in support of the BBFC when he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Friday that bad language was not necessary.

"I suspect Ken Loach could have got everything across that he wanted without having more than one Pygmalion moment," Mr Bottomley said.

But Loach told the programme it would be "silly" for the characters in his film not to use strong language.

"If you are to be true to the story, it would be silly for them to say, 'Oh blow, dear me," he said.

"The problem is that the censors live in their own little ivory tower and are playing to their own middle class gallery."

Loach has long been considered one of the leading lights of the UK film industry, building a strong reputation for harsh, gritty films that do not shy from showing the harsher sides of reality.

He first made his name in the 1960s with Cathy Come Home, a television drama about homelessness that contributed to a change in Britain's housing laws.

Other notable movies have included My Name is Joe and Raining Stones and, more recently, Bread and Roses.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Ken Loach, Director of Sweet Sixteen
"The language is the language of the streets and the playground"

Sweet SixteenBittersweet
Your views on Ken Loach film Sweet Sixteen
See also:

04 Oct 02 | Entertainment
02 Oct 02 | Scotland
30 Sep 02 | Entertainment
21 May 02 | Entertainment
26 May 02 | Entertainment
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13 Mar 01 | Entertainment
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