'Antichrist' will remain uncut in Britain

Censorship board declares no 'harm risk to adults'

LONDON -- Sure it has sex, violence and female self-mutilation, but Lars von Trier's "Antichrist" is OK with the British Board of Film Classification.

The censor hasn't dusted off its scissors, allowing British distributor Artificial Eye to release the movie uncut with an "18" certificate.

The film, which stirred controversy after screening In Competition at this year's Festival de Cannes, will go out to audiences over age 18 unscathed.

"The film does not contain material which breaches the law or poses a significant harm risk to adults," BBFC director David Cooke said. "The sexual imagery, while strong, is relatively brief, and the board has since 1990 passed a number of works containing such images."

Cooke and company shied away from cuts, saying that the censor's lack of intervention "reflects the principle -- strongly endorsed in a number of public consultations -- that adults should be free to decide for themselves what to watch or what not to watch, provided it is neither illegal nor harmful."

The BBFC Guidelines for "18"-rated works state that the more explicit images of sexual activity will not be allowed unless they can be exceptionally justified by context and that the product is not a "sex work" whose primary purpose is sexual arousal.

Said the BBFC, "For these purposes, 'Antichrist' is very clearly not a 'sex work.' "

And though the film also includes a scene of genital mutilation, the BBFC Board "knows of no research evidence which suggests that the viewing of this scene would raise a significant risk of harm to adult viewers or to society or which would otherwise justify intervention."

Said Curzon Artificial Eye CEO Philip Knatchbull: "There is no doubt that 'Antichrist' is a controversial film, but it's our duty as a distributor to present the works of talented directors such as Lars von Trier in their original form exactly as the director intended. We fully support the BBFC's decision to allow people to make up their own minds about this film."