UK censor the BBFC hasrevealed some of the thinking behind its ratings decisions in its annual reportfor 2004, which is published this month.
A movie can be violent andgory, but still escape a high rating, depending on its genre. British comedyhorror Shaun Of The Dead included decapitations, gunshot wounds and theuse of garden implements as weapons, but escaped an 18 certificate. The BBFCsaid that as the film was clearly a pastiche, its violence was weakened.
Wonderland, an 18 certificate film about a porn-star involved ina multiple murder, contained frequent scenes of hard drug use but escapedcensure because its negative depiction of drug takers was unlikely to promoteand encourage use.
The Passion Of The Christ received an 18, in spite of letters calling for alower rating, because it dwelt on agonising torture scenes that included"strong, detailed and bloody violence".
9 Songs was allowed an 18 cert despite its graphic sexualcontent. The BBFC considered that the film included no sexual violence or abuseand showed its sex scenes as part of a developing sexual relationship.
Last year Jersey Girlnearly fell foul of rules about what happens in the background of a scene whenit was suspected a stack of videos were adorned by pornographic titles andimages. Closer scrutiny showed the video cases only featured scantily cladwomen with indistinct titles, enabling the movie to receive a 12A rating.
The 12A rating, meaningfilms are suitable only for children over 12 unless accompanied by an adult, isitself the subject of some confusion among concerned cinema-goers. BBFC surveysfound that, "It was clear that some people mistakenly thought that the 'A'meant it contained adult themes."
The report also charts thechanging nature of censorship over the years. Rebel Without A Cause wasgiven an X rating for its 1955 release because of concerns that it would inciteanti-social behaviour in young people. Despite featuring a flick-knife fight,the re-release was given a PG certificate. This was because the film takesplace in a "dated and historic context".
Meanwhile, after 30 years ofobjections to Watership Down, it was assumed there would not be any moreafter 2003 failed to bring any complaints. Yet in 2004 two letters werereceived claiming the rabbit odyssey was "too disturbing and violent" for its Ucertificate.