Friday, 7 March 2008

Uncomfortable Viewing




The other day I visited the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) as part of a film studies trip in London. For those unaware they’re the guys who caused the 'Manhunt 2' kerfuffle last year, resulting in the game being band in the UK. They didn’t say much about it, seeing as we were there for the films, but some things did strike me. Firstly they mentioned how they only ban things that break the law. Secondly that they only banned two works last year, the other being a foreign film about toddlers killing people. Okay, the toddler massacre thing may have broken a few rules on the treatment and wellbeing of child actors, but what law was 'Manhunt 2' breaking? The lady giving the presentation (who was very friendly, like an old librarian, but not afraid of saying several “fucks” when covering the ‘language’ section), didn’t say much on the game other than it was very bleak, and was only about killing. Still not breaking any laws though. Bah, we ain’t missing much anyway.

Other than that she mostly showed clips that had been cut out of various releases due to their inappropriate content, which was kind of cool, and ironic. I also nearly exploded from needing a piss. We got the train down and didn’t stop walking till we arrived there, where the presentation hastily began, so no chance for a toilet break. It was one of those times where it’s so bad you actually nearly cripple yourself, stomach and back tense, hands shaking, struggling for breath. I sneaked out half way through after discovering there wasn’t going to be a designated break for another hour, and ended up standing over the urinal for close to five minutes. When I returned I found myself strolling to my chair with a swagger, overwrought with confidence and pride as if I’d just slaughtered a giant bear. Total prick…

It’s also worth mentioning that the presentation was filmed to be put on the official BBFC website, so there’ll be me, struggling and squirming away at the back, smiling politely. What was interesting, and equally non game-related, was that (awesome Korean film) 'Oldboy' was apparently edited by the BBFC to remove the scene where he eats a live (actual live) octopus, due to animal rights and what not. However, my DVD of the film at home, which was purchased in a leading British entertainment store, has the scene included. I considered pointing it out to her, but duly decided against it in case it got people into trouble. Oh, I also saw one of those life-sized Big Daddy models in an electronics store hidden round the back. And I got kissed simultaneously on either cheek by two young Indian looking girls while waiting outside a Subway. Yup, still got the magic … or aids.

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