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Film Regulation and Classification

jclarke | Thursday November 14, 2013

Categories: A Level, OCR A Level, OCR A2, OCR AS, EDUQAS A Level, EDUQAS AS, EDUQAS A2, Film Industry, Censorship & Regulation, Hot Entries

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Britain is one of the most highly regulated nations in the ‘west’ in terms of what can be shown at cinemas and in this resource we will explore aspects of the institutional roles of film regulation and classification and the dynamic that is legally required to operate between the institutions of the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) and the film industry. To put it very simply, if you want your film distributed and shown to the paying public, at a cinema or on home video, then you are legally required to submit it to the BBFC. In this resource we will refer to several film titles to illustrate the relationship between a film text and the institutional context that impacts on it. In doing so, we have an opportunity to also consider the connection to spectatorship and a sense of other relevant conceptual frameworks.

If you visit the British Board of Film Classification website you will read this timely piece of news:  “From September 2nd 2013, mobile operators in the UK will use a Classification Framework designed by the BBFC to filter video and website content via mobile networks. The Classification Framework defines content that is unsuitable for customers under the age of 18 and is based on the BBFC’s Classification Guidelines for film and video.?  (1) In these two sentences the recognition has been made that film (or, more broadly: moving image) is now more widely available than ever before and so there is increased opportunity for this widening access to be negatively exploited.

The regulation and classification of media then, is a meaningful part of the UK’s media landscape (beyond film we can look to the recent example of the Leveson Inquiry and the regulation of UK news media) and in part this relates to the concept of freedom of expression that is fundamental to daily life. By extension, our sense of the importance of living in a liberal democracy remains central to life in the...

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