The BBFC recently made headlines by refusing a certificate to The Human Centipede Part 2: Full Sequence. They've since allowed an 18 certificate for a heavily edited version of the film, but initially – for whatever it's worth now – they had said that the film was pretty much unreleasable and they didn't know how cuts could make it a prospect for certification.
Today, they've rejected another, less high profile picture, Adam Rehmeier's The Bunny Game.
Here's a description of that film's basic shape, courtesy of the BBFC:
The film follows a female prostitute who hitches a lift with a truck driver. The truck driver kidnaps the woman, restrains and forcibly strips her, and proceeds to physically and sexually abuse and humiliate her. The abuse of the kidnapped woman takes up the greater part of the film.
Okay – but we've had Hostel and Captive and lord knows what else get certificates in the UK. What's so different about The Bunny Game?
The principal focus of The Bunny Game is the unremitting sexual and physical abuse of a helpless woman, as well as the sadistic and sexual pleasure the man derives from this. The emphasis on the woman's nudity tends to eroticise what is shown, while aspects of the work such as the lack of explanation of the events depicted, and the stylistic treatment, may encourage some viewers to enjoy and share in the man's callousness and the pleasure he takes in the woman's pain and humiliation.
Sounds fair enough. It's also worth noting that the film contains "STRONG SADOMASOCHISTIC SCENES, SEXUALISED TERRORISATION & REAL SEX" – meaning that some kind of penetration would be visible during the woman's rape. Sounds genuinely horrifying.
Of course, I don't actually believe the film should be denied a certificate. I think there should be some means by which adults can acquire this film through "the proper channels". They certainly can't be stopped acquiring it through improper channels.
Note: the BBFC have not "banned" the film, though that's bound to be the focus of some headlines, they've simply made it so it can't be sold legally in the UK. I guess the distinction is a very fine one.
Oh, the BBFC. We're back on that age-old debate again. I know I'm only warming over old bones, but I've always meant it and I still do: I believe in certification, but I don't think anything produced lawfully should be denied some kind of adult certificate.
The BBFC have said, by the way, that their decision is made on the basis that giving the nod to The Bunny Game "would risk potential harm within the terms of the Video Recordings Act". I'm still pretty foggy on what they mean by "harm". I wish they'd one day make a statement that actually clarifies this.
Shall we finish with a look at the film's trailer? I'm sure this will only stoke the fires of prejudice more, but here goes anyway.