Censorship is a funny topic, which myself I can only agree with some of it. It’s basically when some big corporate guy who apparently speaks for the rest of the world goes up to you and say that “you can’t release your work unless you take these things out”, reasoning is mainly because it’s inappropriate for the general public.
Another phrase I like to use for censorship is “restricting creative outlet”. Speaking as an artist, having your work censored, or saying that your work is “inappropriate” is close to being an insult. Yes sometimes harsh language and graphic scenes aren’t required, but sometimes they are to tell your story and fully represent the message you are trying to tell, and for someone to go and say it’s not suitable for the mass market because it may make some people a bit uneasy, well that’s why it’s there in the first place.
Ok, there are usually two types of films, the artistic films, made for creative expression, and those for making money and reaching out to a mass audience. Now I will agree that for the latter, censorship is important, you want people to enjoy your work without receiving any backlash yourself, along with making a bit of return for funding your next project.
Now with artistic films, they tend to get away with a bit more as there’s a smaller audience but for those gems that do get discovered and wider released, censorship can be a big kick in the teeth. For starters, the film WASN’T made for wide release, hence why everything is as it is. Also, all the explicitness (if any) is there for a reason, they all represent something. For example, swearing represents anger. Nudity can represent lust and feeling exposed. Gore…. er gore is a bit of an odd topic, I’ll come back to it.
Going back to the other side of film making, we have the swearing dilemma. Now generally only films above the PG rating are allowed to have swearing, and the higher the rating gets the harsher the language can be. But looking at 12A films, they all have “s***” and “b****” in them and sometimes even “f***” once or twice, but it does confuse me. I mean looking at the audience, the age that these films are rated at. Twelve year olds. Now come on, I bet that some of you remember when you were twelve, you were saying words a lot worse that “b****”. They say they censor the language because it wouldn’t be appropriate for that age. At that age, most kids are saying it on a daily basis at school. Now I know swear words are bad and we shouldn’t use them, but telling our kids NOT to use them, is not going to stop them, once the parents accidentally let it slip and the kids hear it, then that’s it, we can’t stop them, they are kids after all. But instead of saying that they are bad words and we shouldn’t use them, we should be telling them that yes they are bad words and we shouldn’t use them all the time. Now before parents bring out their pitch forks hear me out. You have to admit, there does come a time in our every day lives that a profanity needs to be used, like when you catch your finger in the door, or you get hit by a car, or you find out your girlfriend’s been sleeping with your dad. Ok maybe that last one calls for more than just a swear word, but you get the idea. I think educating our kids in perhaps using them appropriately rather than willy nilly could possibly be better than just saying they can’t use when clearly you just have yourself.
Nudity is an odd one. Over the years the BBFC has been becoming more lenient with it, I mean now you can show breasts in a 15. However the whole idea that nudity on screen as a whole is inappropriate is a bit odd. I mean nudity is generally used in films during a sex scene or to represent vulnerability and exposure (more so in art films but does come up in block busters occasionally). Now this goes into the whole what age is good to start teaching kids about sex. Now when I was in school, we didn’t start learning about sex until I was about nine or ten, but nowadays we have schools wanting to teach it when kids are aged from four to seven. Now their goal is to reduce teenage pregnancies and contract STIs, but a part of me is thinking that this could back fire in a way, but that’s for another blog. My point is, if kids start learning it this young, then shouldn’t nudity be allowed in say a 12 rated film? Probably not. Reason is to stop influential minds from having sex before the legal age, being 16, which is a good enough reason for keeping restricted to 15 and up, however you then get films rated 12 having sex scenes in it, not explicit but still there. Like I said it’s a bit of an odd topic this one, but if kids are being taught about sex and the human sex organs at such a young age, then it must be ok to a bit more explicit in a 12, right? I myself am a bit two sided with this one, there are pros and cons and can see there are viable reasoning for both but for the time being I think the BBFC are right about this topic.
Going back to gore… I don’t know, for me I don’t see the appeal. But on a censorship side I can see why it can be inappropriate in some cases, however that can sometimes stop it from being realistic as well. I mean think about it, can you imagine Predator without all of the gore, I mean the humans got brutally murdered and torn apart, I’m pretty sure there’ll be a bit of blood there, which is why I guess it’s rated as an 18. But when films aren’t even allowed that for being too gory and bloody, it makes me think what is too gory? I mean ok maybe Cannibal Holocaust is a good example of that but then we have films like Antichrist and I’m left wondering where is that fine line of acceptance?
In the end, a mass market release for a product that needs to make money, then yeah censorship is quite important, for a small released film that is used majorly for creative output, then censorship should really back off, even when one of those films does go for mass release, it was chosen for a reason, so just leave it alone. I know I’ve missed out things such as politics and religion but after seeing the length of this and the potential length of those topics, I think it’s best to leave them for another blog.