Emin withdraws movie from UK distribution

Tracey Emin has withdrawn her film Top Spot from distribution in the UK because of the 18 rating. The Guardian says:

Emin, 41, had already criticised the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) last month over the rating they awarded her film, saying the teenage audience it was aimed at would not be able to see it.

Now she has decided to withdraw it completely from UK cinema release, although it will still be shown next month on BBC3.

Indeed BBC3 are planning on showing the film over Christmas, times aren’t yet known, but the chances are that Teenagers will be able to watch it then.

The movie is based on Emin’s own experiences as a Teenager and growing up, and both she and Tartan films feel that this is very relevant to today’s Teenagers. Hamish McAlpine, owner of Tartan Films, said:

This film was made specifically for 15-year-olds to try to advise and help them with the pitfalls of growing up as a teenager in modern Britain.

“Now the film has been denied its audience, it just seems pointless to release the film. Tracey was given the opportunity to mutilate her film in order to obtain a 15 certificate, but quite rightly refused to accede to this request from the BBFC.”

It all seems to hang on one scene of a suicide, and there is talk that it shows someone how to carry out an effective suicide. This definitely goes against the BBFC rules, but Tartan goes on to point out that The Virgin Suicides shows this just as effectively but with a number of teenagers, and this received an 18 certificate.

Censorship is a seriously sore point for me, and it drives me totally nuts. However I can’t help thinking that the BBFC have really relaxed things over the last five years or so, to the point where you can receive an 18 certificate and show actual physical sex in a movie, as long as it is relevant to the story. We are also seeing numbers of films that were previously banned, now getting releases.

Yet I can’t see what the problem is, if BBC3 are showing the movie then surely either the BBFC or BBC3 have got it wrong somehwere. One of them must have the wrong opinion of the film, and this scene in particular.

It all goes around the idea of people being influenced by movies, and never mind just movies, TV, games, etc. I know where I stand on that topic, and if someone is of the frame of mind to commit an act they will do it, movie, TV, videogame or not. We are to blame, not society, not the experience of watching an flashing screen.

I applaud Emin’s decision to withdraw the film, I don’t necessarily say that the certificate it has been given is wrong, but I think it shows belief in her movie and what it should be. Also great news is that Tartan are standing with her. Probably for the controversy and associated sales!

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