BFI to Screen Uncut Versions of Cult Films as British Censor Turns 100
LONDON – What better way to celebrate the centenary of the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) than to unspool a host of uncut titles at the British Film Institute's national film theater complex.
That's the plan of organizers of Uncut!, a month-long series at the BFI Southbank in the British capital that promises films that the British censor has banned or censored in the last century.
Established as the British Board of Film Censors in 1912, the BBFC was set up by the film industry to ensure uniformity in film classification.
Controversial titles that the BFI will screen include Gasper Noe's 2002 movie Irreversible, David Cronenberg's Crash from 1996, The Devils, directed by Ken Russell in 1971 and Sam Raimi'sThe Evil Dead from 1981.
The season also promises the full and uncut version – a U.K. premiere – of Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, which, to get a family-friendly PG rating, has a scene snipped from it, in which a man's heart is ripped from his chest.
The series of films has been curated by film critic and broadcaster Mark Kermode and professor Linda Ruth Williams.
The program at the BFI Southbank will also include "What the Silent Censor Saw – 100 Years of the BBFC," a look at the early days of the censor as it wrestled with sex, drugs, birth control, animal cruelty and on-screen criminals.
There will also be a discussion about violence and over-zealous cuts, including a look at the mainstream martial arts hit Enter the Dragon, which fell foul of BBFC anxieties in 1973 when the censor banned the appearance of flying stars and nunchucks from U.K. screens, because unlike guns, they could be bought here legally.
The program runs Nov. 1-30.