Tuesday, 12 August 2008


Did you know that the British Board of Film Classifications (BBFC) are only an advisory body, and that local authorities are ultimately responsible for classification of cinema releases? I didn't, and I only found out this morning when reading a piece on ConservativeHome.com.

In fact, this power is within the Licensing Act 2003.

I'm asking this, as I've been following the debate over whether the latest Batman film should be rated 12A or not. I saw it in Chicago two weeks ago, and it is much darker and more realistically violent than previous incarnations of the chiropteran crusader. Specifically, there is concern that the villain's fascination with knives is inappropriate in light of our growing problems with knife-crime in England's urban areas.

The online comments at ConHome show a balance between (presumably) Libertarian ones which countenance allowing the film to be 12A, and those that would wish the BBFC to take a more leading role in setting standards of viewing and appropriateness by classifying it at 15. I'm with the latter. But I'm not even sure how one would go about initiating any process to investigate reclassification locally!

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