Fresh controversy landed on FrightFest today, with Srdjan Spasojevic’s
A Serbian Film
the latest flick to get the censors’ knickers in a twist.
The unsettling tale of a retired porn star returning to the industry for one last shoot, A Serbian Film has been met with widespread disbelief by a wealth of stunned reviewers on account of its graphic scenes of sexual violence.
Naturally, this notoriety had whipped horror fans into a frenzy over what was set to be one of the festival’s hottest tickets. However, the BBFC were less impressed, requesting 79 cuts (equating to four minutes of footage) be made before clearing the film for screening.
And rather than show the film in its newly butchered state, FrightFest organisers have taken the decision to pull the film altogether.
“Film4 FrightFest has decided not to show A Serbian Film in a heavily cut version” said the festival’s co-director Alan Jones in a statement made earlier today. “As a festival with a global integrity, we think a film of this nature should be shown in its entirety as per the director's intention.
“Several film festivals across the world have already done so,” he continued. “Unlike the I Spit on Your Grave remake, where we are showing the BBFC certified print, as requested by Westminster Council, the issues and time-line complexities surrounding A Serbian Film make it impossible for us to screen it.'”
Meanwhile, BBFC director David Cooke explained the move in his own statement.
“The cuts to A Serbian Film do not detract from the message of the film but remove the most problematic images of sexual and sexualised violence,” he said. “The section in the Board's guidelines which lists the possible grounds for compulsory cuts, also includes material which portrays children in a sexualised or abusive context.
“Whilst the Board understands that these images are intended to make a political point, that does not remove the genuine harm risks to which they give rise.”
It’s a blow for the festival, the filmmakers and the audience, although they will get their chance to speak out soon enough, as the BBFC’s David Hyman will be participating in a FrightFest panel discussion on Monday. Good luck with that one mate…
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