The British Board Of Film Classification (BBFC) has cut two controversial features; Frightfest responds by pulling A Serbian Film.

The remake of controversial 1978 film I Spit on Your Grave has been cut by the British Board Of Film Classification (BBFC) to receive an ‘18’ rating.

The Board has required a total of 17 cuts (43 seconds of changes) to a rape sequence for breaches of the Board’s sexual violence policy.

The cut version of I Spit On You Grave is screening at Frightfest, which starts today in London.

The BBFC has also required cuts to the DVD submission of A Serbian Film for an ‘18’ rating. A Serbian Film was also due to screen at FrightFest but organisers pulled the film at the last minute.

“Film4 FrightFest has decided not to show A Serbian Film in a heavily cut version because, as a festival with a global integrity, we think a film of this nature should be shown in its entirety as per the director’s intention. Several film festivals across the world have already done so. Unlike the I Spit on Your Grave remake, where we are showing the BBFC-certified print, as requested by Westminster Council, the issues and time-line complexities surrounding A Serbian Film make it impossible for us to screen it,” said FrightFest Co-director Alan Jones.

Srdjan Spasojevic’s directorial debut A Serbian Film, sold internationally by the UK’s Jinga Films, reportedly caused a buyer to fall ill during a Cannes market screening. The film stars Srdjan Todorovic (Underground) as a retired porn star lured back into the industry by a diabolical director (Sergej Trifunovic) who has unthinkable terrors in store for him.

David Cooke, Director of the BBFC, said of the cuts made to I Spit On Your Grave: “The cuts to this version of I Spit on Your Grave, which the Board has required, remove elements that tend to eroticise sexual assault (for example, through the use of titillation), as well as other elements that tend to endorse sexual assault (for example, by encouraging viewer complicity by the use of camcorder footage, filmed by the rapists, during the various scenes of sexual assault).  With these cuts made, the film’s scenes of very strong terrorisation and sexual violence remain potentially shocking, distressing or offensive to some adult viewers, but are also likely to be found essentially repugnant and aversive. The Board takes the view that, with these cuts, they are not credibly likely to encourage imitation.”

Distributed internationally by Cinetel Films, the remake broadly follows the plot of the original, telling the story of a young woman who is gang raped and who subsequently takes her revenge on the perpetrators. Steven R. Monroe directs and new-comer Sarah Butler stars.

The film will receive a limited release in US through Anchor Bay Entertainment.

The original version of I Spit on Your Grave sparked controversy for its graphic violence and contributed to the passing of the Video Recordings Act of 1984 which ensured that UK videos had to carry classification agreed upon by the BBFC. The original film was banned in West Germany, Canada, Ireland, Norway and Iceland among other countries