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Close-up shaven vagina in film Trance rated 15

(8 Posts)
visceralview Tue 16-Apr-13 21:06:55

I am an avid filmgoer, seeing almost every mainstream film released and I am open-minded to artistic licence in films. I have seen shocking scenes in films with 18 certificates, that have not appealed to me, but I accept they are classified as adult films, so I am not overly sensitive.

Having spent most of my life watching films from the age of 3 or 4, I have over 50 years experience of watching films and consistently, over time, I have noticed that more and more inappropriate adult content has been allowed into, not only 15 rated films but also12a rated films, which coincides with the pornification and sexualisation of children, increased violence in children, mysogynist attitudes towards girls and the use of foul language aimed at humiliating and degrading girls.

When parents take their children to see films they do so with the understanding that the film rating has been given with considerable consideration for the impact on the mental and sexual well-being of their children. Equally when older children go to see a 15 rated film, their parents should not need to be concerned about the content or indeed if they accompany their children should not be made to feel uncomfortable or embarrassed by the content. Going to the cinema is a legitimate pursuit that young people don't have to hide from their parents, so the messages they get from these films are viewed as legitimate and acceptable by them. If they are subjected to continued repetition of mysogynist attitudes, graphic violence, explicit sex references, torture, explicit nudity and swearwords then it all becomes normal and acceptable.

The film which has triggered my action is the current Danny Boyle film, Trance (15) which oversteps the boundary of suitability for a 15 rated film in a number of ways, but specifically in the brazen use of full frontal nudity of a type usually found in pornographic films. I believe that this is a test case to attempt by the BBFC and film Directors to introduce much harder adult sexual content into a 15 rated film and if it goes by unchallenged will open the floodgates to much stronger pornography and sexual violence allowed to be shown to children. The fact that Danny Boyle is the Director means that most people will feel intimidated in challenging the rating, much as people were intimidated into not challenging Jimmy Saville.

Both scenes are of a sexual nature and meant to excite. Usually such explicit shots would be used in pornographic films and magazines, both requiring the viewer to be 18 or over. With all of my film-going experience I cannot recall any 15 certificate film which has this level of explicit nudity in close-up and my instinct tells me that this is the start of the BBFC allowing more of the same. I can safely predict that if this goes unchalllenged nearly every 15 certificate film thereafter will contain gratuitous full frontal nudity of the same type.

I have carried out my own thorough research into public opinion on the nude scene in Trance and have read hundreds of film reviews from around the world, read all interviews with the Director of the film and the leading actress and actor and without exception they are of the opinion that this is a "very adult" film. In Ireland Trance is rated 16. In USA, Australia and New Zealand is is rated R17 which means no-one 17 or under can be admitted without a guardian/adult.

I urge anyone concerned with the welfare of children and young people to contact their MP as I have done, regarding the classification of this film at 15 and asking for an investigation into how this could be allowed.

Oodsigma Tue 16-Apr-13 21:19:53

The parents guide on IMDB makes interesting reading.

tinytalker Tue 16-Apr-13 22:29:54

Well said. I too am increasingly concerned about the sexualisation of young people at an early/vunerable age. Teenagers are exposed to increasingly explicit images and their concepts of what is normal in a relationship are developing erroneously. Well done for drawing attention to this and trying to make stand.

YoniOrNotYoni Tue 16-Apr-13 22:33:22

I also thought the torture/dead body scenes were a bit too gritty for a 15.

pinkteddy Tue 16-Apr-13 22:45:13

This is what the BBFC's own website says

'At 15 sexual activity can be portrayed, as long as there is no strong or graphic detail. Some sex scenes can be quite long at this category and may involve some nudity and movement. Though nudity may be allowed in a sexual context there should be no strong detail.

There are no constraints on nudity in a non-sexual or educational context.

There can be strong references to sex and sexual behaviour, but especially strong or crude references are unlikely to be acceptable unless justified by context.

Heterosexual and homosexual sex and sex references are treated the same '

Have you complained to the BBFC? I think its worth doing that - they say they welcome feedback.

nickstmoritz Wed 17-Apr-13 12:12:27

I haven't seen this film but I must say I have definitely noticed a change in what seems to be in films that are 12 or 15. My children are 12, 14 and almost 16 and there have been times when I have felt the language or some content has been stronger than I would have expected. I turned off Tropic Thunder (15) and The Other Guys (12a) because I thought the language was a bit much for my children. I usually steer clear of 15s for my 12 year old although we watched the Pianist together and that is a 15. In some 12 and 15 certs the violence and sexual content is too strong for the age range and I do admire OP for making a point. I don't have anything against the films/directors but certs should be age appropriate.

inkyfingers Wed 17-Apr-13 20:23:55

I'm happy to write to my MP. But what am i asking him to do? Is there a campaign he could sign up to, or some action that I could take as well?

I agree it's a issue of child protection as much as censorship.

visceralview Fri 19-Apr-13 01:02:33

I can update you on my progress.

I think it is good protocal to contact your local MP and ask her/him to pass a copy of your email to the Minister in charge of Culture, Media and Sport whose name is Ed Vaizey as he has the responsibility for overseeing the BBFC (who issue the rating). This is what I have done and my MP has been brilliant and very supportive.

In reply to Pinkteddy, I sent my first email to the BBFC on 29th March (before I contacted my MP) as I thought they would acknowledge my complaint and reply. However, despite sending another email I still have no response. Hence I have escalated my complaint.

With regard to the scene in Trance, the close-up shot is not linked to sexual activity. It is a stand alone piece of photography of the kind you would find in porn magazines and films. The relevant part of the BBFC guidance for a 15 rated film which you highlight is "Though nudity may be allowed in a sexual context there should be no strong detail." I cannot think of stronger detail than a shaved vagina.

I have done further research on the BBFC as well, having thoroughly read the content of their website and they are very open about their purpose. They are funded by the film industry and they work in the best interests of the film industry, aiming and I paraphrase "to achieve the lowest film rating possible to ensure the widest possible audience to make as much money for the filmmakers as possible". Any concern for the welfare of children is completely secondary. This seems clear to me to be a conflict of interest.

To nickstmoritz. You are absolutely right about 12a films which a child of any age can see accompanied by an adult. The content in some films is increasing unsuitable and sexualised, violent and containing offensive language. However I'm sure you will also agree that some 15 films can be relatively mild and less offensive than a 12a. I think this just illustrates how ludicrous the BBFC guidance is. I also intend to contest the content of 12a films and in fact challenge the entire BBFC guidance as not "fit for purpose." I can only do this in stages and with the help of my MP.

To finish for the time being, I also agree torture/violent scenes very adult I will check out IMDB and for inkyfingers and anyone else I'll post an example email to send to MP. If anyone can help with setting up a campaign or give me an idiot's guide to doing it, that would be great. Thanks to everyone who posted.

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