Friday, 7 March 2008

Banned again?

Last month saw the introduction of a private members bill by Conservative MP Julian Brazier to allow MPs to override BBFC classification decisions, with the old Video Nasty list in mind. It all seems pretty irrelevent until you see he has considerable support on both sides of the Commons, and even recognition of sorts from Gordon Brown who "expressed his concern" about the availability of the films according to the Guardian.

In an article for the Cornerstone Group, Julian Brazier MP drags up the discredited media scare stories surrounding the Jamie Bulger murder case, and more unusually an episode of the BBC TV drama "Casualty", but also touches on the controversial subject of depictions of rape in cinema. In light of a recent spate of sexualised murders in the UK, this is something worth looking at.

Whether onscreen sexual violence influences men to rape or not - and most evidence says it doesn't - banning films that depict it is effectively banning artisitic exploration of the subject. Films like Irreversible, I Spit On Your Grave and The Great Ecstasy of Robert Carmichael approach the subject in ambiguous, challenging ways absent in other areas of the arts. Unfortunately murder, rape and violence are part of our lives, and as such need to be addressed as a subject.

That Julian Brazier doesn't understand the subtleties of horror cinema, no doubt through disinterest, is fair enough. But I can never understand the mindset that forms an aggressive opinion on something without taking the time to research and understand it.

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